City of Fort Stockton

Plan for public pond appears to be dead in the water .... for now

Well permit expires Oct. 18; no related item on water board's agenda for Oct. 16

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A plan to create a public access pond in Fort Stockton appears about to be shelved.

A well drilling permit obtained in June by Donohue Investments, LLC from the Middle Pecos Groundwater District (MPGCD) is set to expire on Thursday, Oct. 18.

To move forward with drilling a well on the site of the recently opened Fort Stockton RV and Resort at 14th and Adkins streets, a variance would have needed to be obtained from the Fort Stockton City Council.

The council met Tuesday, Oct. 9 with no such matter on the agenda. The agenda for the Tuesday, Oct. 16 MPGCD meeting does not include any items pertaining to the Donohue or the well permit.

The plan was to create a three- to four-acre pond on property owned by Donohue as part of the RV park. The pond would’ve then become a public use site.

“When the plan first came up, I thought ‘man, that would be awesome,” said Fort Stockton Mayor Chris Alexander. “I’ve been trying to get a fishing pond in here for years. That was awesome, but the problem is we have a budget to pass and we don’t the money for it. Even if they (Donohue) did (drill), it was going to be a long-range project for us.

“The ball’s all in his court. It’s his property and his permit.”

Donohue Investments LLC is listed as an Arizona entity in its Foreign Entity Registration with the Texas Secretary of State. John G. Donohue is listed as the manager of the entity and Fort Stockton attorney Frank Lacy as its agent in Texas. Donohue Investments also lists an address at 701 N. Rooney in Fort Stockton.

The filing in Arizona was made on June 17, 2018, two days before the MPGCD approved the permit at its June 19 regular meeting.

Economic Development Director Remie Ramos made the presentation to the MPGCD on behalf of Donohue. Ramos said that Donohue asked him to make the presentation because he couldn’t be there in person.

Ramos said he used the presentation Donahue providing and that he has previously made presentations on behalf of business in cases where the party could not attend the meeting in person.

“The pond is geared toward tourism and the enhancement of that area, which has always been an eye sore as you come in from the east end of town,” said Ramos told the MPGCD during his presentation.

While the permit passed on a 6-3 vote, concerns were raised over rainwater and overflow drainage, which Ramos said would spill into the city's Comanche Creek, which is adjacent to the property. According to Ramos, Donohue Investments owns property rights all the way up to Comanche Creek and a future agreement between the city for drainage would need to be arranged.

Another rconcern was the need for water to be continuously pump to maintain water levels.

“Evaporation is a big issue out here,” said board member John Dorris, building on to the questions asked by Gonzalez. “Of course, to me this is just a vanity pond. But do you have any idea what it costs to keep one of those things pumping and filled up? You better look this deal over pretty good Remie. That's a lot of water.”

Ramos responded that he and Donohue Investments have been working with MPGCD General Manager Ty Edwards to identify possible evaporation, seepage and overflow levels.

Board member Alvaro Mandujano Jr. was one of the MPGCD board members in full support of the pond and commented that it would be a good asset for the community.

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