The city council heard from Earl Bluhm during the public comments part of its meeting Monday, March 11.
“A lot of people want to shoot guns. I’ll have to add on to add a pistol range,” Bluhm said.
But Austwell has an ordinance prohibiting the firing of weapons in the city limits. So Bluhm wants permission before he builds the range.
He said he has people as far away as Luling who are looking for such a range.
Bluhm added that he would build the range according to Department of Public Safety standards.
He said he would place large timbers and sandbags behind the timbers for the back of the range.
“There would be no kids allowed and no alcohol allowed,” he said.
He also said he knew of one instructor who would come down and give lessons.
The pistol-only range would be 45 feet maximum depth for shooting.
The council could not vote on the issue because the item was not on the agenda, but Bluhm was advised to bring drawings of his plans to the next council meeting.
The council also heard an update on the planned addition to the community center.
Tom Bernal said LNV Engineering is doing the preliminary plans.
The soil was found to be bad, so what is planned is to bore down with concrete pilings.
The addition is 20 by 30 feet or 600 square feet.
Also, a 14- by 12-foot building would be for rest rooms and mechanical room. Planned is a metal roof on top of plywood with windows facing the bay.
The addition is being paid for with a Coastal Impact Assistance Program grant.
A bid for the project will be awarded in mid to late April with construction starting in May or June.
The council also gave approval for Meridian Solar of Austin to seek a grant from the State Energy Conservation Office. If successful, the city will supplement its energy use at its waste water treatment plant.
Travis Moller of Meridian said the solar panels would offset 62 percent of the plant’s energy consumption.
That would be a savings of $2,900 a year. During the 25-year system, a savings of almost $100,000 could be earned.
The installment cost was estimated at $185,000 leaving a match of $33,000 for the city. However, AEP rebates would amount to $31,250, leaving the city’s match at $1,750.
“You would be paying for the system in about nine months,” Moller said.
Moller will make the application Friday in Austin. He said he would probably hear back at the end of March.
The council also awarded a bid from three submitted for city mowing, weed eating and park maintenance from Kathy Cann. Cann’s low bid was $525 a month. Mayor David Cann abstained from the vote.
The council also canceled its May 11 election because no one on the council was opposed, including write-ins who were supposed to file by March 1.
The council also set Saturday, March 16 to have a silent auction for inventory and property inside the First Baptist Church, which was donated to the city. The auction will take place at the church from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will include such things as pews and pastor chairs, minimum bid of $50; altar table $100; lectern, $25; space heaters, $20 each; large metal cross, $50; and much more.
Mayor Cann also recognized the Methodist Church in Austwell upon its 100th anniversary.
And he also read the Refugio County animal control report for February: 279 animals were caught. Of those, 214 were euthanized. Also of those, only one animal was dealt with in Austwell: a skunk.