|Bandera School Trustees Approve the Sale
of Bandera Downs
On Thursday, July 31, Bandera ISD trustees
votes unanimously to accept a $1.3 million offer on the former Bandera
Downs racetrack, a 134-acre parcel on Texas 16 that the district bought
in 1998 for $1.48 million. Bidders Ron Kitchens and Ron Green plan to
close on the parcel in September. Proceeds from the sale would fund construction
of new school administrative offices to replace those now at the track.
Six times before, the district sought bids without receiving an offer
equal to the track's appraised value of $1.28 million.
Kitchens said plans for their "Bandera Hollow Golf Resort" also
call for purchasing 250 acres of adjoining land containing the Lost Valley
Kitchens, a home-builder based in Helotes, spoke of $25 million in investments,
including a 120-room hotel and up to 300 luxury homes around the golf
course in the next five years. He said a decision on how to use the track
site is about a year away.
"We flew in our feasibility team, and they like it," he said
Green was more restrained, saying, "If our financing doesn't go
through, we're not going to buy either one of them. I'd say it's about
75-25 that it will go through."
If the track is sold, it would close a divisive era in local politics
that still generates heated debate.
In 1996, voters overwhelmingly rejected a $15 million bond package that
included $3 million to buy the track (which closed in 1995) and $12 million
to build a high school there.
But trustees pressed ahead with visions of a school campus on the site,
bidding $1.48 million on the defunct track at a tax foreclosure auction
The purchase, which became a school board election issue and helped
defeat a $22.6 million bond election in 2000, remains a sensitive topic.