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City Officially Opens Oak Park & Welcome Center!

a group of people posing for a pictureAdjacent to Wimberley Square at 109 Oak Drive, the complex has been named “Oak Park and Welcome Center” by City Council and is designed to be a landing space for visitors and locals. The City also recognized the completion of the downtown sewer at the event and the unveiling of a sculpture donated on behalf of the Wimberley Valley Arts & Cultural Alliance (WVACA).

The city’s downtown sewer system was fully implemented in 2021 and was a critical enabler in providing adequate restroom facilities throughout Wimberley Square and adjacent areas. Wimberley’s downtown wastewater project is now providing sewer services to approximately 100 properties in the downtown district. More than 90 percent of the eligible property owners are now connected.

“Access to a public sewer system provided opportunities for our downtown property owners, and also for the city to address the needs of both visitors and locals,” said Wimberley Mayor Gina Fulkerson. “The ideal property became available on Oak Drive and working together with local designers and contractors, were able to check all of the boxes.”

The project was designed by Wimberley-based architecture firm, OoA. Percheron Construction, also based in Wimberley, was awarded the construction contract in November 2021. It was funded by a combination of general obligation bonds, American Rescue Plan funds, and city reserve funds. The portion creating a covered directory of attractions and businesses was paid for with Hotel Occupancy Tax revenues, which is allowed under Texas law. Also making the project possible was a $50,000 donation from Sonora Bank.

“It’s been rewarding to be involved with a project that not only serves an immediate need in the community but that will continue to serve for years to come. We thank the City of Wimberley for allowing OoA to be part of this endeavor.” Neel Morton, AIA, OoA Project Architect.

The two restroom buildings contain a total of eight stalls – four women’s, two men’s, and one “family.” They are joined by a traditional Texas dog-run design element.  Six ADA parking spaces are connected to Wimberley Square itself with compliant sidewalks. An additional 130-plus parking spaces make up this key addition to Wimberley’s downtown.

On the porch of the restroom building is a directory including a map of the district listing the names and locations of businesses, parks, and points of interest. The map also includes locations of Wimberley’s noted art boot “Bootiful” project, sponsored by WVACA.

The Bronze Boot Sculpture located in front of the Welcome Center building was donated to the City by WVACA, which is joining in hosting the celebration, through the generosity of WVACA’s past president, Dr. Hilda V. Carpenter and her husband Steven J. Green. The 4-foot bronze boot called “Hill Country Soul” is a gift to the City of Wimberley from WVACA in appreciation of the town’s continuing support for the area’s diverse creative arts.

Oak Park, designed and maintained by Wimberley’s Parks & Recreation Department, is a community gathering space that features high-quality artificial turf and includes bistro-style seating and several outdoor games. “Whether you’re a visitor or a local, you can stroll this park, take a break, watch your kids play, or join in on the fun,” said Wimberley Parks & Recreation Director Richard Shaver. “This is what we envision for all of our parks.”

In addition to building signage, updated directional signage is being installed on Oak Drive and RR12 These signs will direct visitors to the parking lot to help ease traffic at the Square.

“Not only does Oak Park & Welcome Center create much safer access to our Square, it has the potential to alleviate traffic in the Square,” said Rebecca Minnick, Mayor Pro Tem of Wimberley. “We are all proud of the final product.”

Refreshments for the event were donated by the Wimberley Cafe, Creekhouse Kitchen & Bar and Middleton Brewing as well as Social on the Square and Mad Rooster’s.

Rose Gabriel and the Hill Country Honeys performed at the opening event and were sponsored by WVACA and Wimberley merchants Kamaway Market, Wimberley Whimsy, Cypress Creek Lavender Cottage and Social on the Square.

The site features metal landscape planters planted with drought-tolerant cactus sponsored by Kevin Fowler, Flying C Cattle, Molly & Micah Bowen, Friends of Wimberley Parks, Gina and Tom Fulkerson, Rebecca and Don Minnick, and Teresa Shell and Scott See. Additional planters are available for sponsorship by calling the City of Wimberley at 512-847-0025.

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