Williamson County Commissioners Court approves 15-year deal with Kalahari Resorts on Tuesday


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The 334 acre resort and convention center is being built on Hwy. 79 across from the Dell Diamond and Old Settlers Park.

Tuesday’s Williamson County Commissioners Court meeting was the last one of the year. Here is what you need to know:

Kalahari Resorts & Conventions

Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, a new Round Rock development expected to generate at least $350 million in economic activity and produce 700 or more jobs, came one step closer to reality Tuesday when the Williamson County Commissioners Court agreed on a 15-year economic development agreement between Williamson County and KR Acquisitions LLC.

Kalahari Resorts & Conventions is a family resort company. The Round Rock location will feature up to 1,000 guest rooms, indoor and outdoor water parks, and a convention center. The development will also include additional entertainment, recreation and other mixed uses on 334 acres on Hwy. 79 across from the Dell Diamond and Old Settlers Park, according to city documents.

The agreement requires the county to pay back 50 percent of county taxes paid by Kalahari upon the completion of certain stipulations, Precinct 3 commissioner Valerie Covey said. The court said the resort is set to become the county’s biggest taxpayer, and if the resort achieves $350 million in property value and employs 700 people as anticipated, then the operation will be reimbursed.According to Covey, to maintain the same deal after 15 years the resort must reach $400 million in property value and employ 900 people.

According to Covey, to maintain the same deal after 15 years the resort must reach $400 million in property value and employ 900 people.

Precinct 4 commissioner Larry Madsen said the resort is a good development for the county as a whole.

“I believe it will be a win-win for not only Williamson County but the whole area of Central Texas,” Madsen said.

Representatives from the city of Round Rock said they hope the resort will bring economic diversity to the area and maintain Round Rock as the “Sports Capital of Texas.”

St. David’s
Commissioners also approved an economic development agreement with St. David’s Hospital. The hospital is planning on building a 30-room facility in Leander on transit-oriented development land. Because of its location on TOD land, the hospital will be reimbursed for 5o percent of taxes paid. The court added to that by agreeing to pay back an additional 50 percent of taxes for the first three years and and then lower that to 25 percent in the following three years, Covey said.

New EMS director
A pinning ceremony was held to recognize Mike Knipstein as the new Williamson County Emergency Services Director. Knipstein is just the fifth director to serve WilCo and has been with the county for 22 years. Knipstein will take over for Kenny Schnell who retired Nov. 3.

Retirees
At Tuesday’s meeting, two county employees were also recognized for their service to WilCo.

Precinct 1 commissioner Lisa Birkman completed her last meeting since being elected to the court in 2004, as the first women to ever serve. Birkman currently works with the Williamson County Mental Health Task Force and the Williamson County Health Benefits Committee.

County engineer Joe England, who is retiring, was also recognized for his service. England was the first ever county engineer. Terron Everston will take over for England Jan. 1

The next Commissioners Court meeting will take place at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 3.