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EDC hears proposals and requests, recommends spending

By Bev Barr BCC Editor

The Economic Development Commission swore in new board member Laura Devenport at the meeting Wednesday, June 14. In a meeting with a lengthy agenda, the commissioners:
– Listened to proposals and requests for Economic Development tax dollars from five potential recipients
• Best Western Hotel developers, Gene Liquori and Gene Hartman
• Garrett Sullivan, who wants to renovate and reopen the Lone Star Bar
• Brick Gibson, who will expand Bricks’ River Cafe
• The Bandera County Chamber of Commerce for money related to events slated for Labor Day weekend
• The City of Bandera for a shipping container to store event supplies recently donated to the city
– Considered and approved requests for expenditures of up to $54,000 and will recommend to the City Council to amend the EDC budget for each of the following requests
• Up to $30,000 of total expenditures to Garrett Sullivan for three unique requests of up to and not exceeding $10,000 infrastructure rebate; $10,000 building improvement grant; and $10,000 building façade grant
• Up to $10,500 total expenditures to Brick Gibson for up to $10,000 for a building improvement grant; and $500 for a sign grant
• $3,000 for advertising the Celebrate Bandera event and up to $5,500 for Longhorns to run in the annual parade
• Up to $5,000 (the actual expense will probably be less) for a container for the city to store recently acquired special event supplies
– Deliberated during closed executive session the possibility of buying three pieces of property
– Agreed to accept an offer to buy a piece of property from Roz Brown for $14,000 for an unspecified purpose. EDC will present the recommendation; request an amendment to the EDC budget for said purchase. To move forward with the land purchase, there will be open public hearings and a 60-day waiting period
– Agreed to pass on an offer to negotiate a purchase of three lots for $90,000
– Agreed to recommend to the city council to move to negotiate a price for the purchase of property and established a range of acceptable prices. Reporters agreed to not publish specifics that would influence the negotiations before the city council weighs in.
Main Street Shop
and Loft
Gene Liquori and Gene Hartman made a presentation to the council about a development concept of a 36,000 sq-ft Best Western Hotel referred to as “Main Street Shop and Loft.” The 46-room hotel would include a 1,500 sq-ft conference center, a 2,140 sq-ft restaurant and two 700 sq-ft commercial retail spaces. It would not have a pool. Plans for the Main Street Shop and Loft development were drawn by MiCaza Design of San Antonio and passed freely through the hands of people who attended the standing-room-only meeting. The commissioners will discuss this proposal during an executive session at the next EDC meeting, scheduled for 6 pm, Wednesday, July 12.
There was some discussion about the criteria for EDC spending recommendations; and discussion as to whether or not container pods are legal in the city limits.
For future meetings, Art Crawford mentioned that some Main Street businesses are experiencing as much as 40 percent decrease in revenues. Crawford suggested the EDC reach out with a poll or questionnaire to local businesses and see how the EDC could help. There were no public comments.