Marble Falls EDC hears updates on hospital job creation, new brewery, city projects

STAFF WRITER JARED FIELDS

The Marble Falls Economic Development Corp. presented a $72,994.34 check to Baylor Scott & White Health as the final payment in a $2.5 million agreement for providing new jobs and extending utilities after opening its Marble Falls hospital in 2012. Pictured are EDC board members Ryan Nash (left), EDC Executive Director Christian Fletcher, John Packer, Bramer Owens of Baylor Scott & White Health, Steve Reitz, Lindsay Plante, Jane Marie Hurst, Chris Beck of Baylor Scott & White Health, Mark Mayfield, and Judy Miller. Staff photo by Jared Fields

The Marble Falls Economic Development Corp. presented a $72,994.34 check to Baylor Scott & White Health as the final payment in a $2.5 million agreement for providing new jobs and extending utilities after opening its Marble Falls hospital in 2012. Pictured are EDC board members Ryan Nash (left), EDC Executive Director Christian Fletcher, John Packer, Bramer Owens of Baylor Scott & White Health, Steve Reitz, Lindsay Plante, Jane Marie Hurst, Chris Beck of Baylor Scott & White Health, Mark Mayfield, and Judy Miller. Staff photo by Jared Fields

MARBLE FALLS — Marble Falls Economic Development Corp. board members heard updates about city projects, the progress of Baylor Scott & White, and a new brewery at their regular meeting Sept. 5.

Bramer Owens, vice president of Operations Hill Country Region for Baylor Scott & White Health, gave an update before being presented with a ceremonious $72,994.34 check.

The payment is the final one in a five-year performance agreement with the EDC, which actually went to six years.

The Marble Falls EDC agreed in 2012 to reimburse $2.5 million for Baylor Scott & White to create jobs and extend utilities to the hospital south of town. Years four and five fell short of job projections, so a sixth was added. Baylor Scott & White projected adding 446 total jobs to Marble Falls facilities. Owens said during the meeting that projection was exceeded by seven jobs.

In other business, the board approved a Community Leverage Program application from Bear King Brewing in the amount of $25,000.

The money will help offset the company’s estimated $117,000 in construction around the building, 207 Avenue G, to improve parking, lighting, sidewalks, and landscaping.

Members also received updates on the brewery’s plans, including a potential opening date.

“I’m thinking beginning of October we’ll probably have soft openings,” said co-owner J.D. Guidry.

A full grand opening could come later in October, he told the board.

Guidry also told the board that Beer King’s capacity is just over 200 people, and the menu will feature “mostly tacos” with burgers, salads, and appetizers. He also hopes to add a wing night.

In non-action business, City Manager Mike Hodge’s report looked ahead to upcoming projects in the city. Since his last update in June, Hodge said 17 new residential buildings have been permitted at a total value of $3.5 million.

Phase 1A of the parks upgrade is moving forward with the lakeside beach design finalized. Water work to the proposed hotel/conference center should be complete within 30-45 days, he said.

The Lower Colorado River Authority has lowered lake levels in Inks and LBJ the previous two winters. An LCRA spokesperson previously said the decision to lower Lake Marble Falls will be announced in October or November. Hodge, however, told the board that low storage in lakes Buchanan and Travis could delay the lowering of Lake Marble Falls.

If rains don’t raise the reservoirs’ levels, the beach construction will not be affected, Hodge said. Planned work to boat ramps will be though.

The combined storage of the two reservoir lakes currently is 1,358,850 acre-feet, or 68 percent full. Hodge also said new bathrooms for downtown have been ordered with installation coming in “another couple months.”

jfields@thepicayune.com

6 Responses to “Marble Falls EDC hears updates on hospital job creation, new brewery, city projects”

  1. Tulasi says:

    Dear Picayune,

    It’s frustrating to read about these business subsidies, particularly with regard to “Bear King.” Each time that I pass this building, I wonder if it’s a spelling error ( who can be expected to know how to spell “ beer” all of the time?), or a goofy name for a brewery in central Texas, not known for its bears. Moreover, I don’t know why it’s a triumph for the hard working tax payers of Marble Falls to be footing the bill for infrastructure on a new restaurant. It’d be good to know what the city residents can expect to receive in return for the presence of this restaurant; besides increased traffic, of which there’s already plenty in this small town, and food waste?

  2. Steve says:

    Using tax payer money to give to the hospital to create jobs like in this case is crony capitalism. Merely opening their doors created the need for jobs. Now comes a beer/restaurant and gets 25k from the edc to cover items that had to be put in and for most businesses the funding comes a buisness loan or private funding. What happens if they fail with in the 1st year or two?

  3. Les Fenter says:

    “EDC board approved a Community Leverage Program application from Bear King Brewing in the amount of $25,000”.
    So was an APPLICATION approved? or did EDC PROVIDE $25,000?

    How much startup money was committed to Save The World Brewery?

  4. Christian Fletcher says:

    Bear King Brewing Company is making more than $117,000 worth of public improvements outside of their property lines, and the EDC approved a grant application to reimburse them $25,000 toward these costs. This program–the community leverage program–has provided funds for park improvements, hike-and-bike trails, arts initiatives, workforce development, and more. The EDC sold property to Save the World, but there was no startup money provided to them.

    • Steve says:

      The edc has 100k allotted annually for the community leverage program. Why didn’t the edc grant them 100k since they spent 117k? Also are these public improvements such as the parking spaces along the street going to be for anyone to use or only bear king patrons?

      • Christian Fletcher says:

        Steve, prior to the approval of the Bear King application, we had spent nearly $40,000 on other community leverage projects this fiscal year: HMSA marketing assistance, Westside Park sidewalks, LED sculptures for the Walkway of Lights, part of the fire station location study, IT upgrades at the Senior Activity Center, landscaping improvements at 281/1431, and the sculpture at the skatepark.

        The parking spaces on the street around Bear King will be public spaces that anyone can use.

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