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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - June 24, 2004, New Braunfels, Texas LY, JUNE 24, 2004 iald-Zeitung SPORTS READY TO RUMBLE New Braunfels boxer Junior Welterweight Lino Perez Jr. takes on Puerto Rican in his first televised fight Friday. Raga SA FORUM — — i ■ i 11 i i GUEST COLUMN Karen MacDonald got an eyeful recently when she looked out her living room window and saw people changing clothes. Raga Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852. Vol. 153, No. 194 12 pages, 2 sections click SOC [40% rain chance High Low 91 72 Details .... 1B www; _ j a 56825 00001 DEAR ABBY 3B CLASSIFIEDS 4-6B COMICS 2B CROSSWORD 2B FORUM 4A OBITUARIES 3A SPORTS 5-6A TV GRIDS 3B A ‘FAIR’ DEAL DAVID INGRAM/HeraldrZeitung (Above) Schlitterbahn Parking Supervisor Gene Fonda directs cars into one of several almost full parking lots for the waterpark Wednesday afternoon on North Liberty Avenue. (Right) Schlitterbahn employee Juan Jaime walks out of the Comal County Fairgrounds after picking up his paycheck Wednesday. The park uses the fairgrounds for visitor parking during peak periods. Even if city, Schlitterbahn swap land for parking, fair association still holds lease for 32 more years By Scott Mahon Staff Writer Schlitterbahn and city officials agree that a proposal to swap a 41-acre parcel for the city’s 30-acre fairgrounds property should be publicly debated. “It's not even close to being a done deal,” said City Manager Chuck Pinto. “There’s still some legal issues to be worked out, and there needs to be a public debate on it, because it is a community issue.” Schlitterbahn President Gary Henry, who initiated the proposal, said the land swap would guarantee off-site parking for waterpark patrons. “It’s simply an effort for Schlitterbahn to address parking issues," Henry said. “Over the years, Schlitterbahn has acquired land for off-site parking for our patrons, and this would be a continuation in addressing parking issues.” Henry also believes the swap would be a win-win situation for both the city and the Comal County Fair Association. The city currently leases the In exchange Schlitterbahn wants to trade 41 acreasbe tween Live Oak Ave and Loop 337 with the city in exchange for the 30 acre Comal County Fairgrounds Loop 337 Little League Fields fairground property to the Comal County Fair Association, which in turn leases the property to Schlitterbahn for parking. “We’ve been in a partnership with Schlitterbahn for seven years,” said Arlon Hermes, fair association executive board member. “Gary came to us and outlined his proposal, which includes leasing the property to the association for $1 a year for IOO years if we want. The association wants stability, and Gary’s offering us stability.” Henry said the city’s current lease with the fair association doesn’t expire for 32 years. “People are overlooking the fact that the fair has been on that property for IOO years,” he said. “Because the lease doesn’t end for another 32 years, it would preclude the city, and even Schlitterbahn, from doing anything, even if nothing changes.” The city would receive land on the west side of town which could be used for recreational purposes. “The city has said the west side of town needs more parks, and all the city council members, except one, have said the proposal is worth examining,” Sherrie Brammall, Schlitterbahn's communication director, said. “It’s a significant investment on our part." District I Councilwoman Sonia Mufioz-Gill said Henry’s proposal would provide additional green space for the city. “The property Mr. Henry is proposing to swap lies in my district, and it would complement the Little League fields. But it depends on what the council See RRORRIITY, Page 3A DIO YOU KNOW? THE PROPOSAL ■ Schlitterbahn would exercise an option to purchase 41 acres of land adjacent to the Little League fields on Loop 337 for $405,000, then swap that land for the city s 30-acre fairgrounds property located off Common Street. THE BENEFITS: ■ Schlitterbahn would be guaranteed much-needed off-site parking for its patrons. ■ City of New Braunfels would obtain property that could be used for recreational parks on the west side of the community ■ Comal County Fair Association would get a $ I per year lease on the fairgrounds property for 100 years Police go with the flow in regard to rivers By Ron Maloney Staff Writer CANYON LAKE — This weekend should not be a repeat of last on the Comal River in New Braunfels. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Wednesday it would reduce Guadalupe River flows to 400 cubic feet-per-second — what river outfitters call the optimal flow for tubing. The change will mean tubers should be able to tube the Guadalupe this weekend. Last weekend, 5,000 cfs flows closed the river, forcing all tubers onto the Comal River. New Braunfels police staffed the Comal with 25 officers who were called in on days off or between their regular work shifts — causing some to work double-duty days in the sun. Still, at midafternoon, police sought backup help from 14 members of Comal County Sheriff’s Office river teams idled when the Guadalupe was closed to tubers. The sheriff ’s officers were used to help redirect Garden Street for one-way traffic and help police get pedestrians from the last public exit on the Comal through the intersection of Garden Street and Union Avenue. Sunday, police and firefighters had to mount a major rescue operation on the Guadalupe at the Faust Street Bridge after a family of IO Comal tubers went past the last exit on the Comal and on into the Guadalupe. Chief of Police Russell Johnson said he planned to have 32 officers on the river this weekend because he had expected the Guadalupe to be closed again. “We’re just pulling in everybody,” he said. Johnson said it would be See RIVIR. Page 3A Gonzales stepping down from CISD By Leigh Jones Staff Writer Comal Independent School District trustee Dora (kmzales is resigning from the board after one year of her third three-year term. Gonzales was elected to serve singlemember District I in 1997. Last year, she was board president. “I really struggled with milking the deci-sion,” she said. “I planned on serving all three years, but life changes.’’ Gonzales cited personal family obligations as the main reason for her resignation. She also recently decided to go hack to school to get her health care administration certification. “The board has tremendous responsibilities and decisions to make (in the near future), and I didn’t feel I could give 1(X) percent to that task,” she said. Dora Gonzales Trustee John Bertelsen said he would miss her leadership. “I’m sorry to see (her) leave. She led us through a difficult year last year. But, one’s personal life has got to come before this,” he said. According to a CISD press release, the board is faced with two options to fill Gonzales’ seat. Trustees could appoint someone to serve until the next regular board election, May 2005, or they could call a special election to fill the unexpired term. The board will accept Gonzales’ official resignation at the July board meeting. Gonzales said she would look back with pride on the time she served the district. “I feel like a lot of things got accomplished during the time I was there,” she said. “Last year was my toughest year, but it was fulfilling.” UPDATES Tracking the news Bulverde irons out bumps in road plan MISSING CHILD CASE LAST WE KNEW: Dis trict Judge Jack Robison sentenced Margaret and Ed Kearns of San Antonio on charges of interfering with child custody in the case of their grandson, Jeremy DeWalt, whose mother, Suzanne, fled with him rather than turn him over to his father. LATEST: Margaret Kearns was transferred Wednesday from the Comal County Jail to the Plain State Jail in Dayton. NEXT: Margaret Kearns will serve about 3-1/2 months in state jail. Suzanne DeWalt and the boy have not been seen since October 2002. By Brandi Grissom Staff Writer BULVERDE — Roads here will be under construction soon. But which ones and just how much improvement will be made to those roads will be up for debate for at least another month. At their meeting Tuesday, city councilmembers approved 4-1 a contract with 'Hie Hogan Corporation to develop specifications for the first phase of a five-year, $3.8 million capital improvements project. The proposed improvements, which include resurfacing seven city streets, total $300,000. Council also authorized a request for bids on road maintenance City Engineer Keith Allen said could cost up to $50,000. But the city has only $330,000 available for roadwork in the 2003-04 fiscal year budget. “The biggest thing the council has to look at is how much maintenance can we get by with on our current roads to keep them drive-able versus how much to spend on improvements,” said Phyllis Peterson, city administrator. Bids on maintenance for 44 locations in the city are due July 12. Robert Hogan of The I logan Corporation said he expected the specifications to be ready for council approval and bidding requests by the end of July. Alderman Sarah Stevick voted against the GIP proposal because she said it left too little money for road maintenance. “My concern was we have $330,000 total for road maintenance and improvement. If we approve $300,000 for the CIR that leaves $30,000 for road maintenance and repair. I just couldn't do dial in good conscience,’’ Stevick said. “I’m not against the GIP per se, but I think we can get a good balance between the GIP and maintenance and take care of the problems we need to... now.” Once bids are returned* council will choose projects to pursue. ;