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Section A: General News


Sports complex proposal still tough sell


Sports complex proposal still tough sell
Area residents and business owners gather in the Floresville City Council chambers May 7 for a public hearing before the Floresville Economic Development Corp. about its proposal to fund an outdoor sports complex.


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Wilson County News
May 16, 2012
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FLORESVILLE -- A proposal to build an outdoor sports complex on the grounds of the Lauro G. De Leon III Floresville Event Center continues to meet with opposition from area residents. This was evident by the opinions expressed during a May 7 public hearing, held during the regular meeting of the Floresville Economic Development Corp. (FEDC).

The FEDC hosted the hearing because the board voted Sept. 12, 2011, to allocate $125,000 per year over the next 20 years -- a total of $2.5 million -- toward the project. This was after FEDC Executive Director Jesse Perez said the Floresville City Council asked the corporation for its assistance in financing the project, despite the council never voting during an open meeting to make such a request.

Winn Hopkins of Floresville Little League outlined several concerns about the declining facilities at the Floresville River Park. He expressed concern over erosion from the nearby San Antonio River, which has caused cracks and holes to form in the athletic fields.

“You may be against the sports complex,” Hopkins said. “But let’s find something for these kids before someone gets hurt.”

He also said that electrical problems continue to plague the park, leading to sponsors threatening to pull back funding because of an electronic scoreboard that will not operate.

Gearis Herndon, also of the Floresville Little League, said it could cost $35,000 to $50,000 per pole for the electrical system to be renovated.

Charles Chrzanowski asked, “Why not just take the money we have and invest it into repairing the fields and making them safe for our kids?”

LaJuana Newnam-Leus said, “It’s horrible that the city has let the field get into such a horrible condition because they have not kept it up.”

She cited the example of the William “Bill” Smith Kiddie Park, which is located inside the River Park. The Kiddie Park, which the Floresville Lions Club built and donated to the city in the early 1980s, fell into disrepair due to neglect. In 2010, the club renovated the park.

Citizens urged the FEDC’s board members that in addition to maintaining its current obligations, they should focus on more pressing issues, such as the city’s water and wastewater infrastructure. These types of projects, along with improving the city’s high-speed Internet infrastructure, can be funded by economic development corporations under the state’s Development Corporation Act, said Floresville businessman Jim Miller.

“Let’s fund those projects,” he said. “Let’s fund those one- to three-year projects and those five- to 10-year projects and then let’s talk about a sports complex.”

Another Floresville business owner, Mary Helen Tieken, said, “Put the priorities in place and don’t be swayed by emotions.”

For more about the May 7 meeting, see article below.

 

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