The Dripping Springs ISD board of trustees voted in the early morning hours of April 27 to approve a new agreement for the sale of the district's property at 501 Mercer Street for use in the Town Center project. According to board President Barbara Stroud, the vote signifies the district's ongoing commitment to the project following the dissolution of a previous agreement this year.

"We support a Town Center Project. We have supported it for a long time, and we continue to support it," Stroud said.

The Town Center project is a plan to revitalize Dripping Springs' historic downtown area around Mercer Street and Old Fitzhugh Road, involving transportation and parking improvements, as well as a Town Square featuring a new City Hall, a new building for the Dripping Springs Community Library and new DSISD offices. It is set to be funded through one of the city's tax increment reinvestment zones, an economic development tool used to reinvest tax revenue over a certain cap into a specific area's infrastructure.

On March 29, DSISD trustees voted to dissolve an interlocal agreement with the city and library that would have created a shared ownership interest of 11.7 acres of district property following a request to terminate the agreement by the city and library. Prior to the dissolution, the three entities had engaged in months of discussion and mediation over the property-purchasing agreement, the terms of which DSISD voted to decline in February.

At the time, Stroud indicated the agreement, first entered in April 2020, did not come to fruition because the city's final proposal lacked a "material term ... 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."

The city and school district ultimately said they would continue to work toward a satisfactory agreement and held a meeting to discuss options March 31.

Stroud said the newest agreement—the third the district has approved—includes the assurances the district was looking for.

"This agreement that we've discussed approving tonight does contain written assurances that it will be used for a Town Center Project. My understanding is that's really the last remaining term," she said.

Ahead of the vote, a representative for the TIRZ encouraged the board to pass the agreement.

"I think both parties to the sale—each represented by public servants wanting to do what is best for the community—are letting the perfect become the enemy of the good," TIRZ board chair Dave Edwards said. "Both, understandably, are trying to protect against any possible contingencies, when in reality, I cannot imagine the project not moving forward as planned."

The city is scheduled to hold a special meeting to discuss and possibly approve the new agreement April 28 at 6 p.m.