Good morning, Kerr County!
We may have dodged a bullet, part 2. Monday's expected storm was pretty much a dud for Kerr County, producing some rainfall (not enough), but potentially harrowing for other parts of Texas. While we didn't get the severe thunderstorms, we got gusty winds that dried the morning rainfall by the end of the day. Red Flag Warnings remained in place to the west of us, meaning high fire danger. Kerr County could see Red Flag Warnings if the winds continue. Here's a note from the National Weather Service: "A Fire Weather Watch is in effect for Tuesday afternoon for the Edwards Plateau and Rio Grande Plains. Red Flag Warnings for critical fire weather conditions may be needed on additional days. Take care to prevent the start of wildfires."
More on the weather
We got this photo and note from reader Justin Graham, owner of Zanzenberg Farms in Center Point: "Nothing can hurt a people worse than to get spat on and see the backside of good rain tracking East."
The storm wreaked havoc along Interstate 35
The storm missed us, but it produced anxious moments along Interstate 35 from Austin to Waco.
See @maggie_glynn1's post on Twitter.
See @LindseyRagas's post on Twitter.
On today's The Lead Live!
We're going to admit it when we're wrong, and yesterday we thought Michelle McBryde was joining us on the show, but she's with us today. McBryde has many interests, including fighting against Chronic Wasting Disease in the Hill Country's deer population, but today she will give us some of the backstories of her family's deep roots in Texas. Jennifer Natale is also joining the show, organizing a fundraiser to support the Sisters In Service organization.
Today's key events
- Kerrville City Council — Kerrville City Hall, 6 p.m.
- NED Talk, Flash Flood Preparedness — Riverside Nature Center, 1 p.m. Information: The details: The talk will be led by Richard McAlister, Incident Meteorologist American Red Cross and Tara Bushnoe, Upper Guadalupe River Authority. We live in Flash Flood Alley. Why are we so prone to flash flooding and how to be ready, not if but when we flood.
- College baseball — Schreiner University, 2 p.m. The details: Schreiner (8-7) takes on Hardin-Simmons University in a non-conference matchup at Bob Henry Field. The Mountaineers lost at Hardin-Simmons, 9-2, on March 9.
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Now, the voters must say yes
Kerrville moved one step closer Monday to realizing the development of a state-of-the-art police station, fire administration and municipal court when it announced it was under contract to purchase a 7.1-acre lot along Clearwater Paseo and Rio Monte Drive — across the street from the Kerr County Sheriff's Office.
The agreement, expected to cost more than $740,000, is contingent on voters passing a $45 million general obligation bond to pay for the proposed 69,000-square-foot building.
While some had hoped the city would acquire the former Hal Peterson Middle School site, the Rio Monte Drive location checks several of the city's boxes, including the acreage to accommodate the single-story building and parking. The Kerrville Independent School District is still looking for a buyer for the more than 20-acre school site on Sidney Baker Street.
In 2019, the city commissioned a cost study to build a public safety building on three city-owned sites, including the current police station —all demonstrated problems with parking and building size.
That plan was made obsolete by Kerr County's aggressive land purchases around the existing police station, changes in the building code that required features not available during the 2019 study and the coronavirus pandemic.
The city also wanted an emergency operations center to unify its commands during a major incident — that became more acute after the coronavirus pandemic and the 2021 winter storm.
When the city adopted new building codes last year, it also ushered in a significant change in the plans — one more expensive than initially planned. That change is a hardened structure inside of the building that could survive a wide range of disasters, attacks and assaults. Through the course of the scoping for the building, it was determined it would be wise to house the city's information technology department there because its work is closely tied to public safety.
The City Council faced opposition from a citizens group over using certificates of obligation to start the process. A petition by the group, dubbed "Let Us Vote," gathered enough signatures to block the City Council from using the certificates of obligation to begin the process.
What to watch next?
The big question will be how big of an issue will this be in the race for the Mayor and City Council? Candidates and incumbents Judy Eychner and Brenda Hughes have supported the plan, as has council candidate and former Mayor Joe Herring Jr.
Council candidate Robin Monroe was active in "Let Us Vote" that successfully stopped the city's use of certificates of obligation last year. City Council candidate Katy Chapman-Hanna hasn't spoken directly on the subject, neither has mayoral candidate Brent Bates.
What are people saying about the deal?
There was plenty of reaction online once we posted our story, including from a resident internet troll whom we believe had turned to stone but who crawled out from his cave to comment.
- Our resident cave troll: "Thank goodness the city counsel (sic) and mayor got caught with their hands in the cookie jar trying to do this without the citizens (sic) consent. At least now it will be voted on."
- Jane Polk: "I also think the school property on Sidney Baker is a better option. They could keep the gymnasium for the first responders.
- Laura Sturton: Isn't that land zoned residential? So they also will require a variance or rezoning?
- Hank Ort: "What is wrong with the old Middle School? Huge buildings, easily convertible. We don't need any more spread."
- Michael E. Springer: "They still have a No vote from me!"
Kerrville City Council focuses on museum plan
As Kerrville moves forward with one building project (the public safety center), the City Council will approve plans to launch the development of the Heart of the Hills Heritage Center — a long dreamt-of project to house local history.
With more than $2 million in private donations to help fund the renovation and furnishing of the historic A.C. Schreiner Mansion, the City Council could provide the OK on Tuesday to get the project started. The City Council meets at 6 p.m.
During tonight's meeting, the City Council will consider the following:
- Passing a resolution that would adopt a design-build method of construction that could provide efficiencies.
- Formalizing an agreement with the non-profit Heart of the Hills Heritage Center to manage the Water Street museum. The group has raised more than $1 million as part of a deal with the city. The Friends of the Library raised another $250,000. The H.E. Butt Foundation and H.E.B provided another $1 million in funding.
Other items to watch on tonight's City Council agenda
Early in the meeting, the City Council will tackle some revisions to the municipal code to manage emergencies.
- The first item is how the city will manage fires at recreational vehicle parks and campgrounds. The standards are set by the recently adopted 2018 National Fire Protection Association guidelines.
- The second item will be requiring subdivisions to have access points that won't be impacted by 10- and 25-year floods.
- "All residential subdivisions shall have point(s) of access from improved public roadways, such access points to serve as fire apparatus access roads in compliance with the Fire Code as to the number, construction standards, and separation requirements," the code reads. Each point of access shall be designed to safely cross any flood-prone areas with a primary point of access designed to not be impacted by a 25-year rain event. Where required, a secondary point of access shall be designed to not be impacted by a ten-year rain event. Each point of access shall comply with the TCSS and the Drainage Design Manual."
Who is who in the elections
As the 2022 municipal election draws near, there are several competitive races, including in the Kerrville Independent School District, which has not had a contested race since 2012. Yes, that's right — a decade.
Incumbent Dr. David Sprouse faces a challenge from Kerrville chiropractor Zach Sumrall for District 6. Incumbent Michael Tackett faces a challenge from Samantha Munoz.
Today's other events
- KACC Exhibits — Kerr Arts and Cultural Center, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Information: https://www.kacckerrville.com The details: Artwork from the Big Seed Youth Artist program, "Schreiner University Seniors Show" Seniors from Schreiner University display their art, "Hill Country Youth Art Exhibit" school children from all over Kerr County show their work.
- "Art of the Plains" — Museum of Western Art, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Information: https://www.museumofwesternart.com The details: This artistic celebration features realistic and representational artworks in traditional media depicting the American Great Plains region, including its landscape, wildlife, people, and way of life in historical or modern times.
- Form and Function — Hill Country Arts Foundation, Ingram, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday-Friday; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Information: https://www.hcaf.com The details: They feature pottery and ceramics from local artisans.
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