The Brownwood City Council ratified the Municipal Development District’s purchase of about 19 acres of land near the Brownwood Regional Medical Center during its Tuesday-morning meeting.   

The 19.311 acre purchase at 2605 Morris Sheppard Dr. cost the MDD about $85,000 total at auction. The land was originally listed for $550,000.    

BMDD director Guy Andrews was on hand to explain the purchase. He said the land can be used for short-line railroad construction. “The BMDD has been looking at this property for some time,” Andrews said. “Our legislature has authorized TxDOT to provide some grant funding to [short-line] railroads for the first time. … TXR has come in with a proposal to extend their rail line down to our industrial park.”   

Andrews said the 19 acres is comprised of two separate tracts. The larger tract includes the South Park Development Center, a vacant former nursing facility which Andrews said will need to be demolished.   

During the meeting the council also:   

•    Authorized the city manager to sign an agreement between Humana and the city. Brownwood Health Department administrator Lisa Dick said the agreement will encourage county residents to get immunizations by deferring up-front costs. “If we work on contracting with private insurance that allows us to bill for that service … we think that will bring more people in and allow more people to be immunized.” She said the contract also covers some Medicare services and might increase flu vaccinations in the county.   

•    Authorized the city manager to sign an cooperation contract between Texas Parks and Wildlife and the Brownwood Fire Department for fire training. The contract will allow Brownwood firefighters to train for wildfires with controlled burns on Parks and Wildlife property.   

•    Held a public hearing on the new proposed tax rate of $.7946 per $100 value. No comments were made during the hearing. The tax rate will be adopted during a special called meeting on Sept. 19 on first reading, and a regular meeting at 9 a.m. on Sept. 26 on second and third reading.   

At the beginning of the meeting, the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power presented the council with a  $15,354.05 refund check. Brownwood has been a member of TCAP since 2002.   

The city engineer also gave an update on splash pad construction. One splash pad is currently open in Mayes Park, while a second will open on Wednesday at Trigg Park and a third is scheduled to open on Oct. 2 in Alcorn Park.