State to close Caldwell County roadside parks
By LPR Staff
In an effort to cut costs, the Texas Department of Transportation asked Caldwell County last week to support the closure of three roadside parks in Caldwell County.
The three parks, more commonly referred to and used as “rest areas” have long since outlived their usefulness, according to TxDOT Maintenance Supervi
sor James Petty, and have instead become a haven for trash dumping and illegal activity.
“[These sites create] an unsafe, unhealthy and unsightly environment,” Petty wrote to Caldwell County Judge Tom Bonn last week. “It is obvious that these facilities… have become a public nuisance rather than a public asset.”
Petty asked the Commissioners’ Court to support the closure, which will impact two rest areas between Lockhart and Luling on Highway 183, and a third outside of Luling on Highway 90. The two areas on Highway 183 will be alleviated completely, while the third, in Luling, will likely be maintained as a paved “turnout,” because of the scenic view from the location.
However, the site will not be maintained as a roadside park or rest area by the state.
When the current equipment, including awnings and picnic tables, is removed from the roadside parks, it will be donated to Caldwell County and stored at the Caldwell County Maintenance Barn.
The land itself will remain under TxDOT’s ownership, as it always has been, as right-of-way.
In other business, the Court opted to move forward with repairs to the Caldwell County Judicial Center, though in a much smaller scope than originally expected.
Commissioners John Cyrier and Fred Buchholtz have been working the last two weeks to find a proposal to meet the needs of the building, without overextending the County’s budget. A recent inspection of the building revealed that the moisture infiltration was not as prevalent as it was originally thought, Cyrier said, and that replacing and sealing the building’s roofs would likely solve the problems.
Caldwell County Maintenance Supervisor Curtis Weber strongly disagreed, citing repeated problems with the roof, as well as the need for his crews to walk one the building’s roof as a detriment to any replacement done. He suggested the Commissioners continue to look for a better option for the building, rather than, he said, “putting a bandage on the problem.”
Still, Buchholtz and Cyrier said they had contacted local roofing contractors regarding the possibility of re-roofing the building, and urged the Court to accept the low-bid of $44,758 from Mascon Roofing Specialists of Lockhart to perform the job.
Because the total of the contract is less than $50,000, the County was not required to send the project out for bids, under state law.
In brief news:
The court approved final plans for two incoming subdivisions, the Spanish Oaks Subdivision off Sierra Drive, and the Cottage Creek Subdivision off of Plant Road. Both were approved under the “old” subdivision rules, according to County Judge Tom Bonn, because both had begun the process of platting and approval prior to the passage of the embattled Caldwell County Development Ordinance.
They discussed the possibility of moving the holly bushes currently located around the Caldwell County Courthouse to the Scott Annex, as work commences on the exterior of the Caldwell County Courthouse which may harm the plants.
They heard a proposal from the Justices of the Peace regarding the possibility of using an Internet-based payment system for outstanding citations at the county level.
The Court agreed to continue an outdoor burning ban for another week.
The County paid bills in the amount of $258,203.55, including $14,638 for indigent legal defense and $287.07 for indigent health care.
The Caldwell County Commissioners’ Court meets on the second, third and fourth Monday at 9 a.m. in the Conference Room at the Scott Annex, 1403 Blackjack Street in Lockhart. The meetings are open to the public and the public is encouraged to attend.