By Kathi Bliss
As local youngsters start preparing for summer vacation and having fun in the water, the Lockhart City Council has made the decision to expand splashy adventures in the Lockhart City Park.
With a unanimous vote on Tuesday evening, the Council voted to invest $80,000 in a contract with Splash Zone, LLC, an Arizona-based company that specializes in building splash pads for home, municipal and other recreational uses.
According to Public Works director Lee Weatherford, the proposed splash pad, which will have the capacity to serve between 20-40 children at a time, will be installed near the Lockhart City Park Swimming Pool, in an area north of the pool that has historically been underutilized. Plans include not only the splash pad, but seating for parents. It will be accessible to those with disabilities, under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA compliance).
Weatherford said city crews will provide a portion of the labor for the project, including excavation and leveling the area where the splash pad will be located, which City Manager Vance Rodgers said should effect a cost savings of nearly $50,000.
SplashZone, LLC, is not available to begin construction on the project until mid-August, but Weatherford said their construction process is a streamlined one, which could see a grand opening of the splash pad as early as mid-September.
In other business, the council engaged in brief discussion about changes to the city’s zoning ordinance.
The “Nonconformance” section of the ordinance, particularly as it pertains to non-conforming lots and mobile homes, has been cumbersome and in some cases, difficult for property owners to understand, according to City Planner Dan Gibson. Therefore, Gibson asked the council to make changes to the ordinance in order to streamline the language and make it more user-friendly.
An intended consequence of the changes, Gibson said, is to allow certain property owners, whose current lots do not conform to current zoning standards, to develop additional options to sell or improve their properties.
“Some of these lots are so small, that the property owners can’t do anything with them without going to Planning and Zoning for a variance,” Gibson said.
He said he hoped the changes would allow those property owners to bring their properties into compliance, including potentially removing the mobile homes that fall outside zoning allowances in residential neighborhoods.
A resident of Richland Street approached the council with petitions signed by more than 20 of her neighbors, asking the council to address drainage concerns in the neighborhood.
Alma Rodriguez, who recently moved to the area from Bandera, said she purchased her home without knowing that the area is prone to flooding. During last month’s rains, she said, water drained down her driveway and into her living room.
She encouraged the council to address drainage on the street, offering options including additional culverts and lowering the level of the street – both of which, she said, she was told could change the runoff patterns on her property in ways that would be detrimental to her neighbors.
Mayor Lew White assured Rodriguez that the City has plans for expansive drainage improvements in the near future, and that Richland Street is near the top of that list for improvement.
In brief news:
The Council heard a presentation from Lexi Maxwell, of the Texas A&M Forest Service, on the Community Wildfire Protection Plan and the Wildlife Urban Interface program.
They voted to reject a bid from Powerline Services, in the amount of $894,980 for primary electrical work associated with the Highway 183 expansion project. According to Rodgers, the work will go back out for bid in the hopes a more appropriate contract can be negotiated.
The Council approved a proclamation declaring the week of May 19-25 as “EMS Week,” and made a presentation to members of Lockhart-Caldwell County EMS during the worksession.
They discussed several upcoming projects and plans, including the renovation of the Masonic Annex of the Dr. Eugene Clark Library Complex. Renovation of the Masonic Building is nearing completion, and the council is expected to take residence in their new chambers, on the third floor of that building, by early June.
The Lockhart City Council routinely meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month, at 7:30 p.m. in the Glosserman Conference Center at Lockhart City Hall. The meetings are open to the public and are televised on Time Warner Digital Cable Channel 10.