The Cailloux Foundation has offered to help underwrite a $12 million city sports complex in Kerrville to meet growing demand among youth leagues there for soccer, baseball and softball fields.
Plans call for the foundation to supply 75 acres straddling Holdsworth Drive, plus $2 million in cash, then oversee construction of the complex.
The City Council heard strong public support for more sports fields at a Jan. 27 meeting and directed staff to negotiate the project specifics with foundation officials.
The city would provide up to $9 million from an upcoming debt issuance, which would be paid off using local sales taxes managed by the Kerrville Economic Improvement Corp. When construction is completed next year, the city would either hire more parks staff or contract out management of the complex.
“The Caillouxs have been very good to Kerrville,” Mayor Jack Pratt said Monday of the charitable organization formed in 1994 by the late Floyd and Kathleen Cailloux. “This is just another one of their efforts.”
Some skepticism greeted City Manager Todd Parton’s projection that the new complex would be self-supporting, with income from team fees, concession sales, tournaments using its college-level fields and rentals of batting machines in its indoor training center sufficient to cover a $735,000 yearly operating budget.
Team fees worried Hill Country Youth Soccer League president Linda Speck, whose group doesn’t want to vacate the playing fields it has leased from the city since 1995 and has asked the city to extend the $300-a-year arrangement, which expires in June.
Its 700 players share 14 fields there with another group, Hill Country Crush Academy.
“We’re very happy over there,” Speck said, adding she fears the teams in her no-frills league will be priced out of the new pay-to-play complex. “It might turn out to be a blessing. We just have a lot of questions.”
The city needs the 30 acres to build a reservoir there to store up to 105 million gallons of effluent from the nearby sewage treatment plant, Parton said. Using it for irrigation will allow the city to stretch its potable water supply during droughts, he said.
Speck and Pratt were to meet on Monday, but Pratt appeared disinclined to extend the lease to Speck’s group, despite it having invested more $1 million to build and maintain fields there.
“We’re going to share with them what the new complex is going to be. We’re not asking for their input as to whether we should do it or not,” he said.
Kerrville Little League President Blake Caraway said his group welcomes the prospect of a fancy new complex, without the responsibility for maintenance and utilities like it has at its current fields on Texas 27, which are owned by Kerr County.
“The only thing we haven’t discussed is what sort of cost it will be to the Little League to use it,” Caraway, whose organization has 570 players on 55 teams, said Monday. “The city and the Caillouxs have been pretty adamant from the beginning that they are going to provide something as good, or better than what we have now at no additional cost to users.”
Affordability to users of the complex was a priority to foundation officials, Parton told the council.