Parks not top priority, but we support bond
Having more recreational facilities is not Fredericksburg’s most pressing issue. That would be affordable housing by a mile — no, make that 10 miles.
But the $12.5-million bond issue to expand Oakcrest Park to include more baseball and soccer fields is worth the time and money. And whether we agree or not, more local citizens identified more youth soccer, baseball and softball fields as top priorities in recent meetings and surveys.
The parks project is important because it will be a big improvement for local facilities. Currently, soccer games for league sports are played in the outfields of existing baseball fields. Check the demographic trends and we’ll know soccer will continue to grow in popularity. Also, soccer leagues can’t compete in the spring because that is baseball season.
This bond also is important because government facilities will likely never be built near the town center again. Real estate prices are rising too fast, and it doesn’t make sense for government-owned properties to occupy the spaces with the most taxing potential. That would not be an efficient use of land. If this is not done now, a facility potentially located even further from downtown would be even more expensive.
The tournament play that could be hosted at these sites could bring in some additional revenue to hotels, restaurants and other businesses.
The use of treated effluent water on the fields mean no additional water comes from the aquifer, and that’s a good thing in this drought-prone area.
The bond will come with a 3- to 3.5-cent tax bump. Though no one likes to see such rapidly rising property valuations, and the accompanying rise in their tax bill, Fredericksburg has a much lower tax rate than area cities, many of which have similar property valuations. Even with this rise, we will be far less than other Hill Country towns. That is due to good stewardship by past councils and, of course, a huge increase in sales taxes, which offset some of the city’s need for property tax dollars.
We would still advise the city (and others working on housing) to be more progressive and open-minded about finding housing solutions for our workers and young families as a top priority. But this parks bond will make for a nice addition in youth sports facilities, it will prove inexpensive doing it now as opposed to five or 10 years from now, and it will bring in some tournament revenue to hotels, restaurants and other businesses.
We support it and encourage a “yes” vote on Nov. 7. — K.E.C.
AREA CITY GOVERNMENT
PROPERTY TAX RATES
(Per $100 valuation)
Marble Falls 63.4¢
New Braunfels 48.82¢
• 5 soccer areas that can be laid out for all ages, including under six years old to adult play
• Two concession and restroom facilities
• 6 new baseball and softball fields
• Renovate 3 existing fields and concession stand at Oak Crest Park
• New playgrounds and pavilions
• Infrastructure to include parking, irrigation and landscaping
For more information about the bond issue, visit www.fbgtx.org/814/Parks-Bond-Proposition
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