ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – A large bond election for the City of Abilene has officially wrapped up with voters approving $15 million for zoo improvements and $28 million for its recreation centers. Mayor Weldon Hurt talks with us about why he thinks one city bond did not pass, and what this means as far as voters’ priorities. 

“I wasn’t tremendously optimistic about how these were going to pan out,” Mayor Hurt told KTAB/KRBC, saying residents are prioritizing their spending differently because of inflation. Because of this, he said he was pleasantly surprised when two of the three city propositions were approved. 

However, Mayor Hurt also addressed the proposition that was blocked, which would have put $9 million towards a hike and bike trail around Kirby Lake. 

“I feel that the voters of Abilene feel that, maybe, we have enough walking trails right now,” he said. “The voters have spoken, so that’s not anything we’re going to concentrate on.” 

Mayor Hurt said the sidewalks being added to Maple Street should provide enough walking space in that area.  Ultimately, he said he believes these decisions show what the voters prioritize. 

“The zoo is such an attraction, we need to continually keep making it better, and as far as the failing of the trail, it just tells me that people aren’t wanting to put that much money to quality of life on something that they may not be using as much as a rec center,” detailed Mayor Hurt. 

The mayor also said he believes the recreation centers are a necessity, and voters realize that, because they will help with infill development in the neighborhoods around it. 

Voters also approved the Abilene-Taylor County events venue district to finance a venue project to help the City of Abilene’ Frontier Texas! and the Expo Center of Taylor County with improvements and maintenance, funded by a hotel occupancy tax that is set at a maximum rate of 2% of the price paid for a room in a hotel in the city.