By Moses Leos III
Impending construction at Buda City Park is pushing organizers of the annual wiener dog races to seek a change of venue.
According to the Buda Lions Club website, the 22nd annual Buda Country Fair and Wiener Dog Races is slated to be held April 27-28 on property north of Buck’s Backyard on FM 1626.
Buda Lions Club officials said a move was necessary for the 2019 event after Buda opted to close City Park for a 12-month period to start on renovations. While there had been discussions on possibly moving the event to Buda Sportsplex Park on RM 967, the Sportsplex site “just didn’t work,” said Nancy Handrick, Buda Lions official.
The closure of City Park is related to park improvements under Proposition 5 of the 2014 bond.
Proposition 5 calls for improvements to City Park and other trails identified by the city’s Open Space Master Plan. Part of the bond also went toward the purchase of the Garison Memorial Park.
Improvements at City Park include installation of an amphitheater, a splash pad feature, as well as playground improvements.
David Marino, Buda communications director, said construction at Buda City Park begins this month. Greg Olmer, Buda Parks and Recreations director, said the 12-month construction period has been the timeline identified by city staff, with substantial completion estimated to take roughly 11 months.
In December 2018, the Buda City Council approved a bid from the the Barr Company to construct City Park improvements. Construction will encompass the existing pavilion, green areas and playground.
Olmer said other projects included Proposition 5 are on schedule. That includes a splash pad at Green Meadows Park that’s expected to open in March. Buda’s Parks Maintenance building has already been completed, Olmer said.
City officials are anticipating work on the city’s trail systems in the near future, Olmer said.
Handrick said the organization does not have a layout on what the new site will look like at this time; planning is still in the early stages. Buda Lions are ironing out logistics of the event, including the possible need for shuttle buses.
While there could be a need for shuttles, Buda Lions are going to “weigh it out and look it over,” said Charles Handrick, Buda Lions official.
Organizers also plan to work with Hays County officials and Pct. 2 Commissioner Mark Jones as well. However, construction on FM 1626 from RM 967 to FM 2770 isn’t expected to be completed until mid-to-late summer 2019, said Jennifer Scott, Hays County Pct. 2 executive assistant.
Charles Handrick said vendors and competitors are still onboard with the event, regardless of where its held. Buda Lions are also receiving calls and registrations at this time.
“We had a lot of apartment dwellers in the city that came to our event last year. This may impact them somewhat, but right now, we are hoping for the best,” Charles Handrick said.