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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 29, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas Page IGA — IIkralo-Zeiti HMG — Saturday, July 29, 2000 CAMINO real; From 1A Moore explained that Indians from East Texas and from deep in Mexico would gather in this region to organize buffalo hunting parties in the Cibolo valley area to the south, and that thev used the old mail to travel back and forth. The El Camino Real would have led to and past an old Spanish mission in New Braunfels. “San Javier was a bunch of mud huts xx itll fiv e missionaries and 30 Indians.” Moore said. He said he had been searching for the mission s location. which he figured must be somewhere on Landa Park Golf Course. “Eve been looking for it for years." He said this region was fortunate to hav e many surviving sections of the El Camino Real sn 11 intact, but they are in danger of being lost xx itll dev elopment. “Today the people of this region are lucky to have so many surviving sections of the old Camino." Moore wrote in a recent version of his map. “These are some of the most scenic and historical byways in Texas, making them perfect to use as a theme for historical and cultural tourism. The Camino Real between San Antonio and San Marcos has the potential to become one of the best historical tounsm destinations in Texas." A copy of Moore s map of El Camino Real de los Tejas, “a tour map of the oldest road in Texas \vith the histoncal and modem points of interest." can be viewed at the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce Inc.’s tourism and visitor center. 390 S. Seguin. Moore can be reached at TexArch Associates. 490 Rusk St., New Braunfels, 78130. 606-7890. Sophienburg makes new offer By Jo Lee Ferguson Staff Writer New Braunfels City Council faces one question as it considers a proposal from the Sophienburg Museum and Archives for Dittlinger Memorial Library. Cash or trade? Hidden in that question, however. are several other factors that could affect if and how Sophienburg could become the ow ner of the unused library. Sophienburg is asking the city to allow the museum to buy the library for $325,OCK) or give the library to the museum in exchange for the Float Inn property on the Comal River. The Float Inn property is next to the city s tube chute at Prince Solms Park, and the Sophienburg would buy it from Kenneth Fiedler. This week. Sophienburg presented council with a proposal that differs from an original deal they offered to the city a couple of weeks ago. The council delayed action on the proposal, asking for time to study the issue. “They sprang some new information on us just (Monday) at noon.” (Tty Attorney Floyd Akers said. “It changed the whole terms of what they're coming in with.” K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung Past president of the Sophienburg Museum, Dona Bruns, shows off a sticker before the New Braunfels city council meeting Monday night. The council wants to digest the new proposal and look at all its options, including possibly rejecting Sophienburg s proposal and accepting bids again for the library. The city indicated when it first received Sophienburg’s proposal that it was unwilling to make repairs that Sophienburg requested. The Sophienburg now is ask ing the city to pay $25,000 to the museum in addition to the trade. Local attorney John Dierksen, a Sophienburg member, presented the proposed trade to the council Monday. He did not return phone calls from the Herald-Zeitung, but he explained the proposal in a letter to the city. “This contract provides that the city would pay the Sophienburg $25,000 ‘boot’ in connection with the exchange because it will have to make the repairs and buy the title insurance on its own,” he said. How ever, one aspect of the proposal trade has raised a red flag for the city. Brad Herbelin leases a building on the Float Inn property from Fiedler where he operates the Tube Chute Bar and Grill. His lease with Fiedler, which expires May I, contains a purchase option. The lease, which the city provided a copy of, reads: “Lessee, Brad Herbelin, has a purchase option for a purchase price of $340,000. Terms are negotiable.” Akers said he did not “see an expiration date on that option.” Akers said the city did not learn of the lease until Monday and would have to assume that lease, and Herbelin’s option to buy the property, if it traded property with the Sophienburg. “We could trade and then lose the property,” Akers said. “We don’t want to do that.... It makes a significant difference in the deal.” Others disagree with Akers, however, including Fiedler. See SOPHIENBURG/11A Subdivision OKs might get linked to water MILLIKIN By Ron Maloney Staff Writer Comal County commissioners are looking at new platting guidelines that will make the availability of groundwater a criteria in considering approval of large subdivisions. If adopted, the changes will affect the ability of developers to plat and subdivide large tracts into single family housing. The changes also would give the county a tool it did not have before to protect the supply of underground water and limit the density of growth. Senate Bill I, I997’s omnibus water bill, gave municipalities and county commissioners new authority in regard to subdivision development as far as availability of water. Western Comal County, which draws water from an increasingly fragile Trinity Aquifer, is such an area. Comal County is looking at new provisions put forth by the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission that will place new controls on large housing tracts based on groundwater availability in accordance with Senate Bill 1323. The rules, if adopted by the county, will require that developers who intend to use groundwater as a source of water include in plat applications a statement by a licensed engineer certifying adequate groundwater is available. Comal County also could require certification be provided by a hydrologist. County Engineer Tom Hornseth favored the idea of requiring that a water professional be involved in the process. “We’ll use the form the TNRCC has adopted, but we’ll probably change the way we open and close the gate a little,” Hornseth said. Hornseth’s office will continue to work on the guidelines, which will be presented for public hearings and possible adoption. In the past, water availability has been a consideration in platting approvals, but the new rules would broaden the scope of that consideration to include the effects on a subdivision’s neighbors. “We need to pursue this with the utmost vigor,” said Pct. 2 Commissioner Jay Minikin, who represents Bulverde and Garden Ridge. On July 18, Bulverde declared a water emergency and its mayor, Bob Barton, is trying to decide what actions he will take to address it. Minikin, called “Commissioner H20” by his peers, is heavily involved in clean air and water issues at all levels of Texas government. “I see it as we’re derelict to our public if we don’t do something now,” Minikin said. “We had the authority provided to us in Senate Bill I. I think we ought to tie into revision of our subdivision rules.” Commissioner Moe Schwab said he believed the region’s water problems ultimately would be addressed by removing the salt from seawater and piping it to where it is needed. “I know it’s expensive,” Schwab said, “but it seems to me if we can desalinize some of that water and store it either in the aquifer or in tanks, it would solve our problem. If we can fly someone to the moon, we ought to be able to accomplish this.” “It’s coming,” Minikin said. LORA contractor completes work at Comal power plant By Jo Lee Ferguson Staff Writer A contractor suspected of improperly releasing liquid waste into New Braunfels’ sewer system completed its work at the Comal Power Plant. Merrell Foote, spokesman for the Lower Colorado River Authority, said the contractor finished work at the unused power plant on Monday. The power plant is near Landa Park. “They essentially were gone Friday but they had a few minor things to do on Monday,” she said. UH.P. Projects Inc., from Newport News, VA., worked to remove lead-based paint from inside the old power plant for many months as part of an environmental clean up at the plant. The plant was built in 1926 and originally supplied power to San Antonio. It came under LCRA’s control in 1942. LC’RA discontinued its use in 1972. A Houston firm now' plans to convert the power plant into a hotel and con ference center. Clean-up operations at the plant temporarily halted earlier this month when local officials began investigating a report of alleged unauthorized waste disposal at the site. The contractor working at the site allegedly released unauthorized liquid waste into the city’s sewer system that contained lead. The clean-up project was almost complete when the incident occurred, and UH.P. was allowed to finish some touch-up painting at the plant. An investigation into the alleged improper release continues, Foote said. “(The contractor) finished with what they had to do,” Foote said. LCRA must remove tanks placed at the site for the contractor to dispose of the materials from the building. “We’ve got to make sure that any materials in the tanks are disposed of properly,” she said. Also, some environmental clean up still must be completed outside the building.Creating yard art a labor of love for Baytown couple By Jeff Riggs The Baytown Sun BAYTOWN Dale Harp could make lot of money building waterfalls, but he >esn’t care. Sculpting rock formations with water-11s rn his yard and admiring his work is been pay enough for him for about e past three years. It was then that he placed wooden decking in his back lrd with large rocks, mortar, concrete, . well as a swimming pool water pump, > simulate a waterfall. “Eve always loved nature and flowers and water running,” Harp said. “It’s tranquil and loosens up my nerves.” There are two small rock structures in his back yard and another under construction. His largest project to date built in his front yard was completed after friends suggested he share his work with the community. “I did one in the back yard, and a friend said it wasn’t fair to hide these, so I did one in front,” he said. The front yard exhibit contains 30 tons of rock and brick atop six cubic yards of reinforced concrete. It contains electric lighting for night viewing, and is enhanced by four types of palm trees, fountain grass, hibiscus plants, daisies, firecracker plants and others. The sw imming pool pump recirculates 150 gallons of water per minute that eventually moves through a picturesque water wheel. Harp said it took eight months on weekends and evenings to build the structure by himself. By absorbing the labor costs, he spent about $15,000 on the project. “My cost to someone else would be $60,000 to $75,(XX),” he said. “Eve not had that many takers. “But, its just a hobby to me.” Harp, 56, has lived in Baytown since 1951, and has worked as a painter at Jimmy’s Paint and Body Shop Inc. since 1968. Jimmy Hefferman, ow ner of the business, allows Harp to go to his land near Hondo, west of San Antonio, to pick up as many rocks as he needs. “He (Hefferman) believed the more rocks I took off the land, the more grass a cow could eat ” Harp said. Harp’s w ife, Gretchen, shares her husband’s enjoyment of fountains, but does not participate in their creation. “I do like waterfalls, but he’s the one that does it all,” she said. “It was exciting to watch it go up (in front). People didn’t know what it was going to look like when it was finished. A lot of people take pictures of it. Some just stop and look.” She said her husband has no formal training in design and construction of waterfalls.    1 “He just decided one day he was going to do it,” she said. “He doesn’t do any- ' thing in moderation. He’s gung-ho on everything.” (Distributed by The Associated Press) 1 tai tram Scfuin mm, rn ctmriy 4k0«m oo fterend I atta coop* 2 miles ^ ..... ................... .... . .bi&N............................................................... Drawn by Edward Moore, 2000 8. Edu ard Moore 490 Punk Areu draunfits TX 78130 830- <>06- 7690 Bi.gChicfGTexasJndiaas. corn (Etje (Uamtnos iRralrs in Mein SJraunfrls N (Camino &ral existing /V Camino Real, now gone, shown on old maps A' Camino Real suggested by other data Important post 1840, pre 1890 additions and changes to the Camino route /V Other roads , (    TV    oM    nm) ; Y Rail Roads Balcones Escarpment A/ Rivers and creeks ;