County gives nod to State Park
By LPR Staff
Caldwell County signed on Monday morning as support grows for finding a way to save Lockhart State Park.
After a discussion with representatives of the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife and GBRA, the Caldwell County Commissioners unanimously voted to enter an interlocal agreement with TPWD, the City of Lockhart,
GBRA and TxDOT that will create a cooperative effort of the governmental organizations and area residents to help the park’s gates stay open.
Presently, according to Brent Leisure, the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife is facing a $25 million budget reduction in the coming biennium, and in an effort to offset the shortfall, the Department opted to consider transferring seven parks in the current TPWD system to local control. The Lockhart State Park, built in the 1930s by the CCC, is among the seven.
Leisure said the park’s current budget is estimated at $500,000, while the revenue generated by the park is only $250,000. However , there are steps which can be taken to increase those revenues – steps that would require the effort not only TPWD, but of all stakeholders involved.
Oscar Fogle, a member of the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA) board of directors once again went on record as committing his organization’s support for the park, noting the park is an asset to the community and something that the people, as well as the governing bodies, should fight to retain.
Among the ideas suggested to increase revenues at the Lockhart State Park, there has been a consideration of increasing the available camping spaces, a possibility of increasing green fees, and – of course- increased exposure and use by local residents.
It is expected that the County’s contribution to these efforts would come in the form of inmate labor and in-kind contribution, and likely not from budgeted tax dollars.
The status of the Park remains in flux, and the interlocal agreement is expected to be discussed by the Lockhart City Council on Tuesday, April 5.
In other business, the Commissioners appointed a number of citizens to the “Caldwell County Road Study Committee,” an ad hoc group suggested by Commissioner Fred Buchholtz who will be charged with looking at county roads and planning methods for maintenance and improvement to those roads.
Among those appointed were: Clinton E. Gehrke, Stephen Kuhn, Donald Graham, Jodi Ruonavar, Kathy Sellers, William Ilse, Vickie Homann, C. Shawn Harkin, Manny Gonzales, Blake Lewis, Joe Colley and Howard Berg.
Buchholtz and Ronnie Duesterheft will serve as co-chairmen of the committee.
In brief news:
The Court opted to leave an outdoor burning ban in place.
They discussed a change in policy and work scheduling in an attempt to alleviate the necessity for excessive overtime spending in the Caldwell County Jail.
They heard reports from a number of county departments.
The Court paid bills in the amount of $140.437.54.
The Caldwell County Commissioners Court meets on the second, third and fourth Monday of each month at 9 a.m. in the Conference Room of the Scott Annex, 1403 Blackjack St. (FM 20 East) in Lockhart.
(Additional information provided by Karen McCrary,
Luling Newsboy & Signal)