EDC Board approves rodeo sponsorship


By Lauren Jette

The Economic Development Corporation approved a $15,000 sponsorship for the upcoming Liberty Hill/Williamson County Annual Rodeo and a $5,000 facade grant for a downtown business during a regular meeting on Jan. 21.

Williamson County Cowboy Church Pastor Corey Ross spoke to a full board about the growth the rodeo has experienced. The church hosts the rodeo at its Harvest Arena on RR 1869.

“It’s a big event,” he said. “It looks like it will be very large this year.”

The event is scheduled for April 8-10 and this will be the eighth year it is held in Liberty Hill.

“It brings in a lot of revenue,” Ross said.

He added that there were around 4,000 spectators last year, even with heavy rainfall on the first day of the rodeo, so organizers are expecting double that number this year.

The Board also approved an application through the Façade and Sign Matching Grant program from downtown property owner Paul Davidson.

Davidson was not present at the meeting, but in his application, detailed plans to improve and clean up the front of the building, which currently houses Liberty Hill Barber Shop, including replacing some windows, and the façade. The total cost of the project was $11,250.

Board members approved the maximum grant the EDC can give of $5,000. Board members discussed the progress on the funds approved for the sculpture garden to be located at Lions Foundation Park. President Lance Dean suggested tabling the item since the Foundation had not approved the transfer of the park ownership at their meeting earlier this month.

Larry Nicholson, president of the Liberty Hill Development Foundation, which owns the park, was present and said the Foundation hadn’t finalized the land transfer to the City because there are some new board members who wanted more time to familiarize themselves with the plan before voting on it, but that the land transfer is still expected to happen.

He also wanted to know how the Foundation would get the money approved by the EDC for the relocation.

City Manager Greg Boatright, who was present at the meeting, said once the Foundation turned in contracts or bills for the work, the EDC would pay those. No action was taken on the item.

In other business, then-EDC Executive Director Kirk Clennan updated the board on prospect activity. Clennan was asked to resign his position Friday. (See story on Page 1.)

All board members were present for the meeting.

Prior to the meeting, the Board participated in a workshop, where Assistant City Administrator Amber Lewis walked through a budget presentation for members.

The Economic Marketing Committee, comprised of Eric Van Natter, Debby Norman and Bill Chapman, who was unable to attend the workshop, gave an update about what ideas they had come up with and were currently working on.

Some ideas they shared were coming up with a standard fact sheet so that everyone would have the same facts and information about the city to share when selling Liberty Hill to prospective businesses. They also suggested spending some advertising dollars in the Austin Business Journal, since that seemed to be the source for business professionals. Norman also suggested coming up with a community tagline, or an icon that would be unique to Liberty Hill.

No action was taken during the workshop.