JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER
GRANITE SHOALS — The Granite Shoals City Council is examining ways to raise money to pay for road improvements without raising taxes.
One idea staff explored was selling a couple of city parks. But parks committee chairman Seth Smith told the council during its regular meeting June 9 that’s not feasible.
“There’s no recommendation from the parks committee to consider selling any of the parks at this moment,” City Manager Ken Nickel said.
The question of whether the city needs so many parks was posed to staff as the council and city hall braces for the cost of paving Phillips Ranch Road, which many consider Granite Shoals’ main street.
“Paving Phillips Ranch Road is a high priority this year,” Nickel said. “We don’t know the final number for Phillips Ranch Road to pave it from (RR) 1431 to Blue Briar.”
The city also wants to fund the repaving without having to bond the project and ask taxpayers to cover the added costs.
“We want to finish the street repair that wouldn’t increase taxes,” he said.
To help establish some statistical information, the city is counting the number of vehicles using Prairie Creek and Valley View for one week each. The city is counting traffic numbers on Phillips Ranch Road over two weeks.
“We’ll be able to manage by facts,” Nickel said. “We’ll have a good feel for what is the traffic. It will give us some good data. We can go back and talk to the council and make decisions on what is the volume.”
Assistant City Manager Peggy Smith told the council the city will buy three large trucks of compost that is being funded by a grant from the Southwest Range and Wildlife Foundation from the Kingsland Municipal District to begin planting near the new Quarry Park Interpretive Center, Wildflower Garden & Visitor Center. The facility is not yet open to the public.
The center is located near the entrance of Manzano’s Hike, Bike and Ride Trail and the Roddick Tennis Center on Phillips Ranch Road. Nickel said KMUD’s bylaws don’t allow it to give away the soil.
In addition, detailed information about the history of the city is being compiled and will be located inside the center.
The city manager also has assigned himself a task: locating the perfect display cases also to be placed inside the center. He said he has found some he likes, but he doesn’t like the cost of $800 per display. So he is continuing his search. Because the center is an open-air building, protecting information located inside, which will include a city map complete with streets and the city’s history, is important, Nickel said.
The center contains an installment of four pieces of granite at different stages:
• its natural form
• the first stage of work for public use, which includes lines
• the second stage of work for public use, which is smoothed out
• the finished product ready to be used
Nickel said the goal is to have a grand opening in mid-July.
The council also:
• was invited to participate in emergency management training taught by Police Chief J.P. Wilson and Fire Chief Austin Stanfill. Nickel said the training course is designed to help participants, including committee members, know what to do during flooding, fires and other natural emergencies. He added that he’d like for the attendees to go through a dry run after the training session ends to allow them to put their knowledge to use. The training session is expected to be in mid-July.
• was told Sprayco, a company that treats milfoil plant, will be working at the public docks and parks this week. Milfoil plants grow in the water and on docks. It can get tangled up on boat propellers, and wildlife likes to hide in the plant. “It grows up to four feet deep up the shoreline,” Nickel said. The cities of Granite Shoals, Horseshoe Bay and Marble Falls and Wilderness Cove pooled their resources for a $50,000 matching grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority to combat the milfoil, Nickel said.