The Liebelt Cabin was built in 1869 and has fallen into a state of disrepair that threatens the safety and viability of the structure. A report from the Lakeway Parks and Recreation Department states necessary work for the cabin's roof, rafters, decking and log siding.
As a result, Lakeway council members were faced with a decision on spending a significant sum of money for restoration work to take place during financially stressful times, council members said during Monday's meeting.
“We want to preserve it,” Lakeway Council Member Steve Smith said. “But now is a pretty tough time to finance it.”
Proponents of the Liebelt preservation were seeking a minimum of $60,000 for immediate repairs to fix and restore several parts of the cabin. An additional $65,000 was requested to improve the immediate area around the cabin.
Several council members said for now they would rather spend much less money to prevent further damage to the structure without doing a full restoration. Such a measure would likely involve keeping the public away from the cabin while preventing further damage from rainwater.
Key to the discussion was the city's inability to find other sources of funding for the restoration project, such as grant money from a state agency. For example, the Lower Colorado River Authority last summer denied the city a grant request.
Finding alternative funding sources was critical to pursuing the Liebelt restoration, Lakeway Mayor Pro Tem Laurie Higginbotham said during the meeting.
"What we contemplated was a combination of funding from more sources than the city," she said.
City Manager Julie Oakley told council members the city had budgeted $14,000 as part of its unsuccessful application for the LCRA grant. LCRA's website states that its community grant program is competitive and requires matching funds.
Grants exceeding $25,000 are for "noteworthy projects with a far-reaching impact on a broad community," the website states.
Going forward, city staff can use the budget line item intended for the matching funds to explore options to temporarily protect the cabin.