Sports park expansion tabbed at $12.6 million
Fredericksburg City Council approved preliminary cost estimates for an Oak Crest Sports Park expansion, which are tabbed at $12.6 million.
Improvements discussed at last Wednesday’s meeting include an additional nine soccer fields and six baseball/softball fields (various sizes), alongside parking and two restroom-concession-playground areas added onto the existing sports park.
City will call a November bond election, sometime in August, to fund the project. Taxes are expected to increase around 3.5 cents (per $100 valuation) if the bond is approved by voters.
As the 2018 fiscal budget nears completion, the city is expected to lower its rate in the face of rising property valuations. The proposed budget for next year includes a tax rate of .2242 (down from .24 currently), but that could change after budget discussions.
The council considered phasing out the project in stages, but decided to instead try and get it all done at once.
“I’m good with going for the full amount,” Fredericksburg Mayor Linda Langerhans said. “I think the community could greatly benefit from this.”
The November bond election will be called sometime in August.
Dan Wegmiller, financial advisor for the city, was going to discuss bond financing costs and tax information during the July 17 council meeting, but decided to wait until Aug. 7.
“This would allow him to use the new appraisal numbers which will result in a reduction in the tax impact for this project,” City Manager Kent Myers said.
Dennis Sims, project developer with Dunkin, Sims, Stoffels, Inc., said changes to the plans include additional landscaping, batting cages and eliminating the walking trail (which can be added at a later date).
Hotel center update
The council approved phase two of the hotel and conference center project at “the Y” U.S. 290 West-U.S. 87 North fork. The second phase contains in-depth finance reports and the city will negotiate any economic development incentives.
“Next will be defining responsibilities with the developer about the type of project, size of the project and any responsibilities,” Myers said. “It will also lay out the responsibilities for the city in terms of providing any incentives.”
The center’s developer Murphree and Company, Inc., previously sent a “wish list” they hope to obtain from the city, including the extension of utility services, with totals well over $1 million.
“They understand the city will be limited to our involvement in the project and they don’t expect us to satisfy most of the items that they identified,” Myers said. “It’s basically a starting point for the discussion.”
To help narrow down the developer’s wish list of incentives, the city approved spending $20,000 to hire Denton Navarro Rocha Bernal Hyde & Zech, P.C., attorneys and counselors based in San Antonio.
“I’m in favor of hiring this firm. I think we do need additional representation,” councilman Bobby Watson said. “They’ll have a good firm working for them and I want to make sure all of our bases are covered. I think we should negotiate and if we can’t agree, we walk away.”
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