70° F Tuesday, May 30, 2017

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Lake Pflugerville is regularly the site of athletic competitions, such as the 2010 Lake Pflugerville Triathlon (pictured).

Lake and tollway add hope but tourism still distant goal

By Kolbe Ricks
Contributing writer

With tollway expansion around Pflugerville underway, access to the city is easier than before, and city officials are beginning to think about how to attract tourists to the area.

“We are in the fledgling stages of creating tourism,” Pflugerville Mayor Jeff Coleman said. “At this point, I don’t see what we would create, but it is something we’re actively working on trying to find out.”

One of the city’s stated goals has been to bring a hotel and conference center into town and negotiations currently are in progress, Coleman said.

“We are currently working with a potential hotel and conference center coming into town,” he said. “We will, also, assuming we get a hotel at some point, we’ll be looking at instituting a hotel and motel tax.”

Despite not yet having a hotel within city limits, Pflugerville still has offerings to potential visitors.

“One of our assets is the Austin Executive Airport and the [Travis County] Northeast Metro Park,” Coleman said.

Lake Pflugerville is a popular attraction for local residents that could have a draw for tourists as well. The 180-acre reservoir, open since 2006, has increasingly become more popular locally, buoyed by the addition of Lake Pflugerville Park in 2010. The park includes a children’s playscape, a pavilion and restrooms, bathing beach, three-mile trail, dock and opportunity for a variety of water sports.

Athletic events such as the Lake Pflugerville Triathlon, are annually hosted at the lake.

A city grows into ‘Sports Capital of Texas’

In 2004, as a part of Round Rock’s economic development program, that city started its convention and visitors bureau and it has been a successful endeavor for the city.

By bringing baseball tournaments, disc golf, women’s full-contact football and other sports to the area, local businesses benefit from the increased spending of tourists, Nancy Yawn, director of the Round Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau, said.

“We have branded ourselves the Sports Capital of Texas,” Yawn said. “We market toward youth and amateur sports.”

Another important factor in marketing a city for tourism is community support, she said.

“You want the community to buy in to what you’re trying to promote,” Yawn said.

Jobs and water first

However, in Pflugerville, some residents recently noted they’d like to see the focus on localized issues ahead of tourism.

“You’d have to build something to attract the people to support those hotels,” Pflugerville resident Boyd Lawrence said. “[The city] needs to actually get some kind of actual manufacturing job started, and I know they are actively trying to do that.”

First-term City Councilman Omar Peña said he’d like the city to give tourism consideration in the future.

“Ideally I’d like to get there,” he said. “Especially with the lake, we’ll see some natural draw with that.”

However, the fundamental issues facing the city, such as water issues, currently need to receive priority from the city, Pena said.

“Currently we have several things on our plate dealing with infrastructure,” Pflugerville City Councilman Wayne Cooper added.

Once the infrastructural issues Pflugerville faces are stabilized, Cooper sees no problem with trying to find a way to draw visitors to the city.

“I definitely think it’s a possibility,” he said. “I think it would be a good thing.”

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Pictured:

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Deutschen Pfest, coming up May 17-19, annually draws more than 10,000 visitors combined to its festivities, which include carnivals, parades and concerts.

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