UP says no to pavilion



Plans for a downtown pavilion have taken a slight detour based on a reluctance by the Union Pacific Railroad to see the facility located at a proposed site near the railroad on 10th and Main streets.

Initiated by Downtown Hays Development Corp., the pavilion received approval from Hays city commissioners for site preparation and restroom construction during their Oct. 12 meeting.

Although a formal letter opposing the project from Union Pacific has not yet been received by city staff, railroad officials have said in an email they are not in favor of the pavilion location, as it is close to the railroad tracks, said City Manager Toby Dougherty.

"We have asked for a formal letter on the subject, and have not yet received it," he said.

DHDC Executive Director Traci Konrade said her organization still is committed to the project.

"We will start looking for alternative sites and working with the city on this project," she said.

Commissioners voted 4-1 in October for the city to provide site preparation services for the proposed structure not to exceed $175,534 of its $576,534 price tag, and provide a restroom not to exceed $75,000. The remainder of the cost of the project was proposed to come from DHDC fundraising efforts. The agreement was subject to the project's approval by Union Pacific Railroad and an agreement between DHDC and the city of Hays regarding ongoing annual maintenance costs of the structure.

The 3,100-square-foot pavilion has been proposed by the DHDC as a community gathering place for families, a farmers market, community and school events, and an arts venue.