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A new development center aimed at children could be coming to Kingsville

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Posted at 5:48 PM, Jul 11, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-11 18:48:05-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — An old historic building in the City of Kingsville could soon be re-purposed.

At Monday nights Kingsville City Commissioners meeting, a unanimous vote was the first step toward what could become an event center/interactive butterfly and birding center geared towards children.

"It’s a good project, but it’s a long way from happening. Tonight is just kind of starting the ball rolling," Kingsville Mayor Sam Fugate said.

With Monday’s vote the city is essentially telling the state of Texas they have an idea. If the state responds positively within 30 days, the city would then bring it to voters in November.

The city plans to fund the butterfly facility through the creation of a venue tax. The venue tax will tax hotel rooms and not city residents.

"What we do is we gain the tax from the amount of hotel rooms that are rented every night," Kingsville City Manager Mark McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin said that the city's hotel occupancy rate is above 60% on average for the entire year.

The King Ranch currently owns the Henrietta Memorial Center. It will move its museum to a different location in Kingsville, allowing for the city to lease the current space for the birding and butterfly center.

"We use it, we provide all the maintenance and we do all the upkeep on it and cleaning of it. It’s as if it’s our building in ownership," McLaughlin said.

The goal is to bring tourism and provide an activity in the city for both adults and children to enjoy.

"For those in opposition, they probably just need to get on board with the program because you’re not going to stop progress. This is a way to bring something new to the city with very little risk," McLaughlin said.

Fugate said this project is a win for the city and said the King Ranch has committed to keeping its museum within the city and has plans to expand its retail space. It will take at least a year for the city to begin renovations for the butterfly center.

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