Council members voted Wednesday to add 102 acres to the city of San Marcos’ collection of preserved land.
The undeveloped land, located off Derby Court in the Country Estates subdivision, cost the city $1.27 million. That money is included in the city’s recently-passed fiscal year 2017-18 budget. The appraised value of the land is $1.3 million.
The property was formerly owned by Grady Early and is now owned by the Texas State University Development Foundation.
The foundation will pass it onto the Trust for Public Land, a national organization that facilitates and funds the creation of parks and protected lands, before the city starts paying for it.
San Marcos will lease the land for three years, making three annual payments of $423,333, according to the agreement.
Documents show the land must be used as a public park or kept as open space or conservation space for two years.
In a Facebook post, Mayor John Thomaides said the acquisition would bring San Marcos’ total of preserved land additions in 2017 to 350 acres.
“We will protect the aquifer, decrease stormwater runoff and add to our recreational trails system,” he wrote in the post.
According to the San Marcos River Foundation, the area includes 100-foot cliffs, ancient live oak trees and open spaces.
It is also key for the eventual trail, which is planned to connect Spring Lake Preserve with Purgatory Preserve, and it brings closer to reality the urgently needed belt of recharge zone protection for the San Marcos Springs, Spring Lake and the river.
Sherwood Bishop, a lecturer at Texas State University, said during a public comment period at Wednesday’s meeting that the land acquisition would be a “very important piece of achieving [the]dream” to create a contiguous greenbelt that connects Spring Lake Preserve with Purgatory Preserve.
The San Marcos River Foundation is also working to preserve land around Sink Creek. The foundation owns two tracts of land totaling about 324.11 acres.
The foundation has asked San Marcos City Council to consider applying for a $4.4 million loan with the Texas Water Development Board for the area.