Wimberley Parks Department hoping to buy a mountain
WIMBERLY, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - On Thursday, Wimberley City Council voted to support the Parks Department in their effort to raise money to purchase property that includes Mount Edith, the sister mountain of Old Baldy.
“It's 288 acres of completely natural Texas Hill Country, which is getting pretty rare,” said Richard Shaver, programs and operations manager for the City of Wimberley Parks Department.
With a $6.3 million price tag, the city is hopeful that another organization can help with some of the funds and then they can use donations to repay that money over time.
The Parks Department has already reached out to the Trust for Public Land and Texas Parks and Wildlife.
“The city does not have those funds, and so we are turning to the community to help us fundraise, to help us get donations, sponsorships, partners, anything that we can,” Shaver said.
The property for sale by private owners stretches from the high school and the Emilyann Theater just beyond Mount Edith.
“So I think having both of those meet up with park land would be a great environmental education resource that we could provide for the students and community of Wimberley,” said Shaver.
Purchasing Edith, the Parks Department said, could also help the city better prepare for future flooding by adding natural retention ponds.
“This piece of property sits higher in elevation than the Wimberley Valley, so any sort of flooding would be detrimental to the Wimberley Valley if it were to be developed,” Shaver said.
Reaching a deal will be a race against time.
“Big pieces of property like this are being purchased all the time from developers and being turned into multi-housing complexes and neighborhoods, and we are losing the gems in the Texas Hill Country that we need to preserve,” said Shaver.
Although it may seem like an uphill battle to get enough support and money from the community, the people in Wimberley have moved mountains before.
“Our community has been resilient so far to keep development at a minimum out here,” said George Matthews who has lived in Wimberley for 30 years.
“The citizens came together in 2015 to acquire Mount Baldy and they donated it to the city, so, I'm hoping something similar happens with Mount Edith,” Shaver said.
If the purchase happens, it will be up to the community to decide what to do with the space.