Utility and other hurdles delay Bee Creek Sports Complex

Delays have pushed back completion of the much-anticipated Bee Creek Sports Complex to spring 2022. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Delays have pushed back completion of the much-anticipated Bee Creek Sports Complex to spring 2022. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)

Delays have pushed back completion of the much-anticipated Bee Creek Sports Complex to spring 2022. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)

Though it was initially planned to be ready for play by 2020, delays pertaining to construction and, more specifically, to water service, have pushed the completion date of the much-anticipated Bee Creek Sports Complex to spring 2022.

Gerald Daughterty, Travis County Precinct 3 commissioner, said several utility districts, including the West Travis County Public Utility Agency and Crossroads Utility Services, which manage Municipal Utility Districts 11, 12 and 13 in western Travis County, have come together recently to discuss a deal to bring water to the roughly 23-acre complex planned for the west side of Bee Creek Road.

“Our side of the road is out of the service area [for the utility providers], so it’s taken some maneuvering and negotiating to get it,” Daugherty said. “I’m glad we were able to do it, and I’ve had people work with me, but you have to get a lot of sign-offs from different boards.”

Jennifer Riechers, WTCPUA program director, said no official deal can be made to bring water to the land where the Bee Creek Sports Complex is planned without going through her agency's board. As of now, Riechers said she is not aware of any formal requests for water service for the complex to be put on an upcoming WTCPUA agenda.

Riechers said the WTCPUA has a wholesale contract with Travis County MUD 12, which would be the providers of the complex. Travis County MUD 12 representatives recently contacted WTCPUA to inquire about servicing the Bee Creek Sports Complex, she said.

"That doesn't mean that Gerald Daugherty and some PUA representatives haven't discussed this, that's quite possible that they have," Riechers said. "I have not been part of that, so I don't really know where it's at in planning."

Riechers said she should have updated information regarding a potential deal for Travis County MUD 12 to provide water to the sports complex some time during the week of Jan. 21.

Beyond the water delay, Daugherty said he could not be specific about when a groundbreaking for the complex might occur, and added that unanticipated expenses have pushed the scope of the complex from seven to five athletic fields in order to stay within the roughly $23.5 million budget.

“The other thing is everything is so blasted expensive to build out there,” Daugherty said. “You think you have good assumptions on projects, and then, you get pricing on things.”

Shiloh Newman, board president of the Lake Travis Youth Association, said he and others within LTYA have been frustrated by delays with the complex, and the fact that Daugherty is stepping down as commissioner this year adds to their anxieties about the future of the project.

“Gerald has been a man of his word this whole time,” Newman said. “Everything Gerald said he was going to do for us, he has done. Granted, we’re frustrated with this whole process, and this was a learning experience. I’m just coming to learn after speaking with other county and city officials that this is what happens when you’re planning these things. They take a long time.”

Newman said he and others representing LTYA campaigned for the creation of the Bee Creek Sports Complex since 2015, and it took two years of consistent attendance at Commissioners Court meetings, on top of additional advocacy efforts, to help get the project added onto a $185 million 2017 Travis County bond.

“LTYA started five years ago in the [Travis] County Commissioners [Court] meetings on Tuesdays going in there and pleading our case to Judge [Sarah] Eckhardt to get us a park because we’re the only part of Travis County that does not have a county park or a sports complex,” Newman said. “We had to do town hall meetings and get several signatures and get 400 or 500 people to show up each time, which we did.”

Daugherty said he hopes plans for the complex will be complete by this summer; then, bids for a contractor could go out by this fall, but that is not a guarantee. He added that once construction begins, the project should take about 12 months to complete.

“There’s been a few paper cuts,” Daugherty said. “That can happen on projects like this.”
By Brian Rash
Brian has been a reporter and editor since 2012. He wrote about the music scene in Dallas-Fort Worth before becoming managing editor for the Graham Leader in Graham, Texas, in 2013. He relocated to Austin, Texas, in 2015 to work for Gatehouse Media's large design hub. He became the editor for the Lake Travis-Westlake publication of Community Impact in August 2018. From there he became a dual-market editor for Community Impact's New Braunfels and San Marcos-Buda-Kyle editions. Brian is now a senior editor for the company's flagship papers, the Round Rock and Pflugerville-Hutto editions.