Local News Headlines–6/25/2013

Thursday night’s College Station City Council includes three agreements related to the Kyle Field redevelopment project. The 30-year deal, which commits $36-million in hotel occupancy taxes, gives access by the convention and visitors bureau to several A&M facilities.  C-V-B board president Hunter Goodwin says the access comes with no cost in some cases along with discounted parking, including new meeting space at Kyle Field.  Goodwin says this opens the door to hosting large state and national events. The deal…which also includes BrazosCounty and cuts prices to use the MemorialStudentCenter, the Rudder complex, Reed Arena, and the Penberthy sports complex…was also instrumental in not moving Aggie football games out of town during the construction period.

The Downtown Bryan Association has asked the city council for the money to nearly double the pay of its executive director, add two fulltime employees, and add four paid interns.  Association President Ben Hardeman proposes the D-B-A take over management of the Palace Theater and the Texas Reds Festival.  Hardeman says there’s been a significant growth in the membership, programs, activities, and leadership in the downtown community.  That’s among the reasons to increase the executive director’s pay from $34,000 to $65,000 a year and spend $92,000 to cover a new program manager, a new operations manager, and four interns from A&M.  The city currently contributes $55,000.  The D-B-A wants another $40,000 to cover personnel expenses through the end of September.  City staff says the money will come from the general fund and the hotel occupancy tax.  The D-B-A has also asked the city to triple what it currently gives in the next fiscal year, to $165,000.  The association would also keep all revenue generated from the Palace, while the city would keep revenue generated from the Reds Festival.

And, two people have been killed in a weekend fire that consumed a home near Chappell Hill.  The Washington County Sheriff’s Office identified the victims as 53-year-old Jeanette Laster and her boyfriend, 50-year-old David Michael Wright.  Authorities say the home was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived shortly after 3 a.m. Sunday.  They say a third person was badly burned and taken to a Houston hospital for treatment.  Investigators have not determined the cause of the fire, which is the second fatal fire in WashingtonCounty this year.  An elderly man died in a house fire in January.