By Moses Leos III
The potential to draw people to the community has Kyle Police Chief Jeff Barnett believing Kyle’s proposed town center could be a viable asset. But that’s as long as participating entities work together.
“I think every entity clearly understands the benefit this could be to the community,” Barnett said. “We have a great working relationship with each of the entities. I’m certain that will continue.”
For Barnett, the centralized location of the development, proposed to be located at the FM 1626 and Kohler’s Crossing intersection, could be a potential economic hub.
The town center development could house multiple entities – the Emergency Services District (ESD) #5/Kyle Fire Department, the Kyle Police Department, Hays CISD and Hays County – that are flanked by commercial firms.
He said it would provide a great opportunity to have multiple buildings in a single territory. He also thinks it could allow for a “well developed plan for retail, restaurants and hotels.”
The concept could be a factor in the department’s quest for a dedicated police facility.
Discussions on giving Kyle Police the necessary space and facilities have been ongoing for years, Barnett said. Over the past 15 years, the department used an old post office and a bank as its headquarters, with neither building suited for a police department, particularly one in a growing city where more officers are requested annually.
With the town center, Barnett believes the city could plan for a proper police facility.
“It would be good for the citizens and good for the staff,” Barnett said. “A facility that would provide for adequate security, infrastructure for IT needs, and allow for the department to expand over the next 20 years.”
The concept would also be beneficial for Hays CISD, which currently owns land next to the Performing Arts Center.
Tim Savoy, public information officer with Hays CISD, said the land could be utilized to build a brand-new administration building if the town center concept materializes.
But without the money to build an administration center, Savoy said it could be a part of the district’s discussion for a 2017 bond election.
Savoy said an administration center is not the highest priority for the district. He pointed to the district’s need for another high school, along with two more elementary schools.
Also on board with the concept is ESD #5/Kyle Fire Department Chief Kyle Taylor, who believes the concept of sharing the cost for development among entities could be a “win” all around.
It could extend to the development housing a fire department substation. Taylor said there is a need for a substation in the Plum Creek area in the next several years.
“Anything we can do to be fiscally responsible is a bonus,” Taylor said. “We’re looking at a substation, not a large amount of space.”
But several challenges arise out of the town center concept. Taylor said funding draws the biggest question mark. Ensuring there is enough room for future growth is a concern.
“We don’t want to end up in a building where we are overcrowded,” he said.
The impact the development will bring to traffic in the area is also a looming issue.
Collaborating on a solution is the primary goal, according to Barnett.
Taylor also understands the need to improve traffic flow at that intersection.
“Whether it’s a red light or a roundabout, something needs to happen as we get more action in that area,” he said.