January 2017 Mayor's Message
One of the great disappointing aspects of public service that I’ve had to come to grips with is the fact that public projects take too darn long to complete. At first, I think “I hope we can get this done in a year or two.” Then I think “I hope we can get this done before my term in office is up.” Then I think “I hope we can get this done before I die!”
That is how I’ve often described my feelings about the Walnut Branch restoration efforts. It’s been something that’s been discussed and kicked around for virtually my entire lifetime.
The good news is that it seems Walnut Branch is finally being noticed by the general population. And it’s about time.
This very unique, picturesque stream has the potential of being THE thing that can place Seguin on everyone’s list of “must see” places in Texas. People are drawn to natural settings that are convenient, pedestrian friendly and REAL. It is a place of real history, with real natural beauty. It even has real fish and real resident critters that inhabit the area. This ain’t the safari river ride in Disneyland with the fake hippos! It is real Texas and real Seguin.
We still have work to do, though. We need to add amenities like lighting, improved access, signage, and landscaping, as well as extend the trail downstream all the way to Starcke Park East.
There have been many efforts to try and restore the creek, but nothing ever really caught hold until the late 90’s, and Mayor Mark Stautzenberger formed an official city commission in 2000. The original chairman of the commission was Sam Flores, and I was honored to be vice-chairman. Many others in the community were also a part of that commission. Our Main Street Director at the time was Mary Jo (Filip) Langford, and she was a great force in both creating the commission and keeping it on track.
So much time has passed that I can’t remember everyone involved, but people like former Gazette publisher, John Taylor, Nancy Masterson, Judge Robin Dwyer, Lynn Glenewinkel, and others served on the commission. Property owners along the creek like Ruby Vaughan and her son, Gary were always present at our meetings.
Around that time, a fellow named Robert Burns drifted down from Austin, and purchased a small house on Travis Street that was also along the creek. He was the art director for the original cult classic movie “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”. So for those of you who did not know him, believe me, he was a very interesting character. Robert soon developed a passion for Walnut Branch, and spent countless hours clearing and restoring areas along the creek. He also became a student of the history behind the walkways and water features designed by Robert Hugman during the 1930’s.
In the July 13th, 2003 edition of the Seguin Gazette, Robert wrote the definitive history of the Hugman project – How it came about, and how it all came under disrepair. There is a full section in that edition of the paper dedicated to the history of Walnut Branch with quotes from locals who remembered the area in its glory days. Maybe we can talk the Gazette into re-publishing that section… or you can check it out on microfiche at our beautiful new library… on Walnut Branch.
Sadly, most of the folks who were quoted in the Gazette article have passed on – along with Robert Burns, Sam Flores, Ruby Vaughan, and John Taylor. They never got to see the finished project.
Now go read the last sentence of my opening paragraph…
Gosh, I love this town!
Click here to read Mayor Don Keil's December 2016 message.
Click here to read Mayor's November 2016 message.
Click here to read Mayor's October 2016 message.
Click here to read Mayor Don Keil's August 2016 column.
Click here to read Mayor Don Keil's July 2016 column.
Click here to read Mayor Don Keil's June 2016 column.
Click here to read Mayor Keil's May 2016 message.
New Agenda Downloads
Date: January 12, 2017, 5:30PM
Date: January 6, 2017, 9:47AM
Date: January 4, 2017, 3:39PM
Date: December 8, 2016, 1:09PM
Date: December 6, 2016, 9:28AM
Date: November 18, 2016, 3:51PM