Dripping Springs ISD votes to approve interlocal agreement for Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone

A photo of Mercer Street in Dripping Springs
Dripping Springs' Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone includes historic Mercer Street. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)

Dripping Springs' Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone includes historic Mercer Street. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)

Ending months of deliberation, the Dripping Springs ISD board of trustees voted April 28 to approve an interlocal agreement with the city of Dripping Springs, the Dipping Springs Community Library District and Hays County. The agreement confirms the school district's participation in a project of Dripping Springs' Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ), a development strategy for growing cities to reinvest tax revenue over a certain cap into a specific area's infrastructure.

Per the agreement, DSISD will share ownership interest of 11.7 acres of property—currently, the site of the DSISD administrative offices—for common use by the city, library, county and school district as space for offices or other facilities in the TIRZ Town Center Project.

"This [interlocal agreement] creates a unique opportunity for DSISD to further collaborate with the city, library district and county as we look to maximize community resources, bring a central government location and enhance our downtown area while creating a unifying defining center for the city of Dripping Springs," Superintendent Todd Washburn wrote in a district statement following the vote, which took place after executive session.

The Town Center Project is a plan to "strengthen the economic vitality of the Mercer Street Historic District and downtown Dripping Springs as a destination," according to the city. Key facets of the project include a new city hall facility, new DSISD administrative offices, new community library facilities and a Hays County satellite office. Together, these facilities would form the core of a town square, a "major focal point and gathering space" and the "symbolic heart of the community," as outlined in city documents. Other goals of the Town Center project include improved parking, pedestrian access and traffic flow in downtown.
By Olivia Aldridge

Multi-Platform Journalist

Olivia hosts and produces Community Impact Newspaper's podcasts, The Austin Breakdown, The Houston Breakdown and The DFW Breakdown. She launched the podcasts after nearly three years as a reporter for the newspaper, covering public health, business, development and Travis County government for the Central Austin edition. Olivia worked as a reporter and producer for South Carolina Public Radio before moving to Texas.