LAMPASAS — A crowd turned out Monday evening to give the City Council opinions on a new multiuse civic center in Lampasas.

The idea of a civic center is not new, and according to one resident, it has been discussed for more than 40 years. However, despite the fact those in attendance were in favor of the facility, not everyone agreed on the city’s proposed location. To keep expenses minimal, officials are considering using city-owned property, specifically the land currently occupied by the Sports Complex facility on Farm-to-Market 580.

“There is no associated action item on this, but the council wanted a public hearing,” City Manager Finley deGraffenried said. “We are at a very preliminary starting point with a lot of details remaining.”

The city manager highlighted advantages and disadvantages of the proposed location. “This property would not require a land purchase, and $1.1 million is available from the hotel occupancy tax to fund said project. However, we have discussed a facility of 15,000 to 16,000 square feet, and at approximately $80 per square foot, the cost would slightly exceed the amount we have available,” deGraffenried said.

He said the location is not easily visible or within ready access to local restaurants and dining establishments.

“I’m glad to see the civic center back on the agenda and to discuss it again,” former mayor Jack Calvert told the council. “First of all, potential sites around the city were evaluated and rated based on a number of factors, and this site came out at the bottom. There is no sewer system and it has reduced visibility. No matter what site you look at, there are a lot of advantages and disadvantages, but we need and deserve a civic center.”

Several more residents spoke to the council, saying the FM 580 location is barely inside the city limits, and is too far from shops and hotels and lacks a convenient proximity to amenities for those visiting the city.

In other business, the council approved the final plans to move forward on the Lampasas Library expansion and renovation project, and gave a green light to the library’s Teen Advisory Group to begin soliciting donations to complete a landscaping project on the library grounds when the final project is complete next year.

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