In a March 30 statement by Dripping Springs ISD, the district said trustees voted to end the Town Center interlocal agreement after "the city of Dripping Springs and the library had sent formal requests to the district to terminate" it.
"DSISD is continuing discussions with both the city and the library regarding the sale of district property for the Town Center," the statement read. "A previously planned meeting between DSISD and city representatives is scheduled for Wednesday, March 31, 2021. Another meeting occurred the morning of Tuesday, March 30, in preparation for the March 31 meeting."
In the statement, DSISD board president Barbara Stroud said the district's desire is still to sell the land for use for the Town Center project.
“We have been committed to the Town Center vision for several years and have spent countless hours and resources to make this happen.” she said. “Despite everyone’s best effort, we have not reached an agreement regarding the property, but are continuing to work on it. We will continue to act in good faith in order to reach a positive outcome for our community and hope our partners will continue to do so as well."
Original post: March 30, 2:51 p.m.
The city of Dripping Springs will look at options to relocate aspects of its planned Town Center project after Dripping Springs ISD trustees voted to terminate an interlocal agreement with the city at a March 29 meeting.
“Since 2016, the city has been working toward a Town Center,” Mayor Pro Tem Taline Manassian said in a statement March 30. “We made a commitment to the community for this signature project, and I look forward to continuing to work with [Hays County] and [Dripping Springs Community Library] to deliver a community space that is consistent with our vision but in a different location or configuration.”
The Dripping Springs Town Center project—as outlined through the previous interlocal agreement between the city, school district and Dripping Springs Community Library—is an effort to improve city, school district and library facilities; local roads; and infrastructure in downtown Dripping Springs. Project planning began in 2016, and the now-dissolved interlocal agreement was approved last spring.
According to the city, the DSISD land was a key component of the project and would have provided the necessary right of way to improve connectivity, parking and facilities for all three entities.
DSISD left the agreement after the two sides could not finalize an ownership agreement in February that would have allowed for future development of 11.7 acres that currently serve as the DSISD administrative office property, after the city of Dripping Springs voted March 9 to send notice of termination of the interlocal agreement to the district. Trustees said there were insufficient assurances that the property would actually be used for Town Center purposes.
“What was most disappointing to me about the proposal that we received from the city in February is that it is lacking a material term that was in our proposal sent in December," Board President Barbara Stroud said in February. "That material term is some kind of assurance that this land would be used for a Town Center—for governmental purposes, for a town square, for the potential library and the potential county offices.”
During the March 29 meeting, DSISD trustee Joanna Day said the district will continue to have informal discussions with the city to see if a future agreement can be reached.
Manassian said she was disheartened by the school district’s decision to vote down the latest ownership proposal but that work towards the project will continue.
“We all have been at the table for years with a goal of creating a destination for our communit, while addressing our outdated public infrastructure and makeshift spaces for local programming,” she said. “Informal discussions with the school district [will] continue, and if they are not fruitful, we have other great options we can consider. We are confident that we can deliver an exciting and robust Town Center in another area of Dripping Springs.”
According to the city, the next TIRZ board meeting will be held April 12, and the board will discuss next steps for the project at that time.