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Llano County closes libraries on Saturdays, considers trade for JLK center

Llano County Commissioners Court on July 25, 2022

Llano County Precinct 4 Commissioner Jerry Don Moss (standing) discusses a proposed trade of county-owned property in the city of Llano in exchange for the John L. Kuykendall Events Center and Arena with fellow commissioners Peter Jones (seated, left) and Mike Sandoval. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

Beginning Aug. 6, libraries in Llano and Kingsland no longer will be open on Saturdays. The Llano County Commissioners Court made the decision during its regular meeting Monday, July 25. Commissioners also considered a proposal to trade county-owned parkland within the city of Llano for the John L. Kuykendall Event Center and Arena, which is owned by the city.

A presentation from Amber Milum, director of the Llano County Library System, showed bleak numbers for Saturday library attendance in 2022.

According to collected data, 16,704 people visited the Llano and Kingsland libraries from January through May of this year, but only 465 of those visits were on Saturdays. That comes out to roughly 2.54 percent of total attendance, Milum said.

“Our numbers used to be up,” she said. “I’m hoping that, by next summer, we can open up on Saturdays again and more people will come in.”

Saturday hours were 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Llano County Library and 9 a.m. to noon at the Kingsland Branch Library. The two locations, along with the Lakeshore Branch Library in Buchanan Dam, will remain open from 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.

PROPERTY TRADE

Commissioners also considered a proposal for a trade of county-owned parks and property within the city of Llano for the John L. Kuykendall Event Center and Arena, which is currently owned by the city. Among the properties in the proposed trade are Grenwelge and Badu parks.

The events center is a 25,000-square-foot, climate-controlled facility on 88 acres of land at 2200 RR 152 West. It typically hosts large-scale events such as rodeos, motocross, and 4H shows.

According to Llano Mayor Kelli Tudyk, the event center brings a lot of business to Llano but is too expensive to maintain and market for the city’s budget. 

“We have been operating at a deficit for several years, and the city can no longer do that,” Tudyk said.

The event center, which was built in 2012, currently runs a $133,000-a-year deficit, according to numbers presented by Tudyk to the Commissioners Court. The Llano Economic Development Corp. takes care of the mortgage, which will be paid in full in the next three years.

The estimated value of the event center is $2.3 million. The value of the parks and property in question is unknown but believed to be significantly less than the event center. 

The Commissioners Court moved to table the matter and give it further consideration at its next meeting on Aug. 22.

dakota@thepicayune.com

1 thought on “Llano County closes libraries on Saturdays, considers trade for JLK center

  1. If the city can’t make any money off of the events center, how could the county. I think this is just a way to obfuscate a bad decision to build the center in 2012.

    If libraries weren’t today’s punching bag, keeping them available on Saturdays wouldn’t be an issue. The little expense of Saturday library certainly doesn’t come to close to the county’s bad investment in a loosing events center.

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