Three candidates are in the running for the New Braunfels City Council District 1 seat that is being vacated by Councilman George Green as he seeks office in Comal County. Shane Hines, Jose Lopez and Bob Wolf will be on the ballot for a two-year term during a special election Feb. 17.
Shane Hines is a native of the Houston area and has lived in New Braunfels for 11 years. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University and does technical sales for the oil and gas industry.
Why he’s running
“Our city is about to see a lot of growth, and we need people to guide the long-term vision so it’s positive growth.”
Traffic and road updates
With the rapid growth in New Braunfels, Hines said traffic is becoming a key issue that the city needs to get ahead of.
“We need not just potholing, but long-term fixes [for our roads],” Hines said.
Funding for Fire Station No. 2
Hines said public safety and ensuring first responders have adequate resources are among his top priorities. Fire Station No. 2, located at 120 Loop 337, was built more than 40 years ago, and Hines said the facility is outdated and in disrepair. If elected, he said he would work toward securing funds to update the station.
“I believe in taking care of the people that protect us,” he said.
Sidewalks and connectivity
Hines said the city as a whole is lacking when it comes to sidewalks.
“We need safe connectivity for families to get around town,” he said. “We’re spending millions on the rec[reaction] center and there [are] no sidewalks to connect neighborhoods to the rec[reation] center.”
- Vice president, New Braunfels Jaycees board of directors
- Chairman, City of New Braunfels downtown board
- Member, 2019 bond advisory committee
- Volunteer, Big Brothers Big Sisters
- Past board member, CASA of Central Texas
- Past board member, New Braunfels YMCA
Jose Lopez is an Army veteran who was born and raised in New Braunfels. He spent much of his professional career in business and restaurant management and is bilingual.
Why he’s running
“I’m motivated to make positive changes, and I get along with just about everybody,” he said. “I know this city. It has grown tremendously, and I love it. I love to see growth. It means opportunity.”
Lopez, who is optimistic about the city’s fast-paced growth, said increasing real estate values equal more tax revenue for the city.
“It would be good to have more affordable housing,” he said. “There are a lot of lots that are empty in this town, and it would be good to encourage builders and remodelers to buy them and fix them up through incentives from the city, and [to] encourage banks to finance people moving in here who want to buy a home.”
Visibility for emergency services
Lopez said he would like to see street numbers placed on the curb with reflective paint to “make it easier for police, fire, ambulances and even deliveries to find out where you live.”
Maximize existing resources
Although the city falls close to 500 acres below the state recommended park land per capita, Lopez said, “we’re not really using the parks that we have right now.”
Lopez suggests using existing parks more intelligently by adding more amenities such as tennis courts and better lighting.
Another asset in the community, according to Lopez, is the Westside Community Center, located at 2932 S. I-35.
“I’d like to see it utilized more,” he said.
- Chairman, Democratic Party of Comal County Precinct 301
Bob Wolf has been a New Braunfels resident for eight years. He is the owner of Bob Wolf Creations, which crafts hand-cut stone jewelry.
Why he’s running
“We need to improve city streets, drainage [and] river quality, build a second public library and replace the aging fire station in District 1.”
Street and drainage improvements
Wolf said his number one priority is to advocate for road and drainage improvements in District 1, citing an incomplete reconstruction project on Morningside Drive that was approved for funding in a 2013 bond election.
“For the city to be growing 10 percent a year, it’s amazing that things are working the way they are, and that’s to the credit of the city staff,” he said.
However, Wolf said he feels the city can improve planning for streets and drainage to accommodate the growth coming in.
“[The city needs to] make plans to widen roads and put in sidewalks before subdivisions are built and make sure people moving into those homes can get in and out in a safe manner,” he said.
Bringing a library to the district
There is only one library in New Braunfels, and Wolf said he would like to see one built in District one or District two.
Wolf said he predicts construction of a new library would most likely be considered near the Veramendi and Creekside developments because it would increase property values.
“We’ve been here longer than anybody else in town,” he said. “If children have access to library books and reading programs they become more productive citizens.”
Wolf said he is in favor of adding parkland, green spaces and trees.
“I think we need to buy park land three to four miles outside of development and let the development catch up,” he said
Wolf is also an advocate for tree preservation and said he is particularly fond of the large pecan trees in the area that the Germans planted for food.
- Member, 2013 bond advisory committee
- Member, Watershed Protection Plan stakeholders group
- Past member, Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee
- Past President, Friends for the Preservation of Landa Park
- Wolf feels that one of his greatest local accomplishments was in 2013 when he led a grassroots effort with public school officials to stop an explosive liquefied natural gas plant from being built a half-mile upwind from New Braunfels Middle School.
To vote in the special election, a person must be a registered voter and live within District 1. Early voting is underway through Feb. 13 at the Comal County Elections Office, 396 N. Seguin Ave. The Feb. 17 election will take place at the Westside Community Center, 2932 S. I-35, New Braunfels.
The term for the office will end in May 2019, and the council member will be required to reside in District 1 until the term expires. For more information, contact the City Secretary’s Office at 830-221-4010.