Kyle unveils plans for new recreation complex

Ten years worth of scuttlebutt could soon come to an end as Kyle city officials Aug. 15 unveiled plans for a privately-funded east side sports and recreation park.

That complex, known as Kyle Vista Park, would encompass 46-acres along Dacy Lane near Chapa Middle School and could harbor a tennis complex, volleyball facility, a recreation center and, potentially, a skate park.

Kyle city manager Scott Sellers said the project, which went under the code name “Just Peachy,” has been on the city’s agenda “in some form or fashion” for the past year.

During the course of the year, Kyle has worked with “private recreational entities” in negotiating agreements on funding the park. Exactly how much the park could cost is unknown at this time. 

Sellers said Aug. 15 he couldn’t disclose the entities until the agreements are finalized. Negotiations are ongoing.

However, what could come out of the negotiations is an “innovative solution to a problem the city has been wrestling with for ten years,” which was trying to fund a recreation center, Sellers said.

Kyle is proposing to offer a 25-year ground lease to entities at “very little cost to the city,” Sellers said. The city would pay $200,000 total from its parks fund over the course of a decade.

In return, participating entities would “bring these recreation opportunities” to Kyle, which the city would have paid for out of its general fund. Sellers said during negotiations, it became apparent the city had a “good opportunity” to leverage a ground lease situation.

The city could also offer property owners utility extension to point of distribution (POD) lines, as well as improve the internal road network for the complex.

Talk of a potential sports complex and recreation center in Kyle has been ongoing for 10 years. In 2007, Kyle acquired 46-acres of land at the corner of Bebee Road and Dacy Lane.

At the time, Kyle city leaders engaged in a $1 million architectural review, study and plan with MarmonMok, a San Antonio-based firm.

With a $20 million price tag, along with a low priority on the city’s wish list, the council at the time didn’t move forward with the plan.

After dusting off MarmonMok’s review and plan, Sellers said the city is now moving forward with the complex, which could cost more than $30 million today. Kyle is currently in the “final round” of talks with three entities, which aim to develop the sports complex.

What the complex could hold is a variety of recreational opportunities.

Sellers said the city had a “recent development” with an unnamed entity involving positive interest in a “tournament quality tennis complex.” The tennis facility may house national tournaments “or larger.”

Another entity was interested in developing a “tournament-class” indoor and outdoor volleyball facility, which could also be used for other activities, including basketball and futsal, or indoor soccer.

A third entity is eyeing a “large recreation facility” that will be multi-purpose for a variety of activities. Other facilities could include a skate park, along with a splash pad.

Kyle Vista Park could also be a way for Kyle to reopen discussion with Hays CISD regarding a natatorium, or swimming complex, on the site.

Sellers said the city began talks with Hays CISD for the natatorium, but they never materialized.

Hays CISD earlier this year sought plans to partner with the YMCA of Austin for a $5 million natatorium at Camp Cypress, located along Old San Antonio Road in Buda. The proposed deal, however, died following a 3-3 vote on the dais.

Sellers said the natatorium could still be on the table, and the city “would very much like to explore that.”

Kyle Mayor Todd Webster said that instead of waiting 20 years, the city could “bring the types of things people want.”

Travis Mitchell, Kyle city council, District 1, credited staff with finding a solution to the funding issue.

“You brought forward an impossible solution and its the truest situation of making lemonade out of lemons,” Mitchell said.

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