Granite Shoals Citizens for Progress


April 19, 2011 | Posted in

Original Development

City of Granite Shoals was founded in 1966 by a popular vote of its citizens, and has over the past 45 years, expanded by annexations.  Most of the city is located within the Sherwood Shores subdivisions, which were a large 1960′s era lakeside land development.  It is said that the 11,000 lots made the Sherwood Shores subdivisions the then largest platted subdivision in the state of Texas.

The city was named for Lake Granite Shoals, the original name given for Lake Lyndon B. Johnson.  The original lake was so named for the shorelines of beautiful native granite outcroppings.  The original residents of the city were primarily families who wanted a second home on the lake and retirees.  While these two population groups are still strong, GS has become a destination community for people seeking to escape the stresses of large cities, and for families who desire an affordable, comfortable lifestyle.

Developed by Sherwood Properties, Inc. of Denison, Texas, the original development was served by a small private water company, and did not have any sewer lines installed.  Only a few roads were paved, which were the ones along the water front, and the three main roads entering into the subdivision.   The developers created 18 parks, all but three of which are located on Lake LBJ.  The waterfront parks frequently double as drainage areas, and allow access to the lake for the non-waterfront lot owners.

The 1970′s and beyond

When the city was incorporated, it slowly began to provide new services.  In 1973, as a result of litigation brought by the city and several residents, the developers gave the city the parks and the roads, along with the $10 per lot annual assessment to allow the city to try to maintain the parks and roads.  The court settlement created the Sherwood Shores Trust Fund, which received the annual lot assessments, and appointed the city as trustee of the fund.  The court order also gave the city (not the trust fund) title to the parks and streets.  In 2009, the city asked the 33rd District Court to allow the city to dissolve the trust fund and cease the annual assessments.  The court agreed with the city’s request and the trust fund will be terminated on December 31, 2011, with the city retaining the right to continue to collect past due assessments and use those and any still remaining in the trust fund account for street and park maintenance.

The city eventually built a new city hall in 1976, having outgrown the combined city hall and fire department at 412 N. Phillips Road.  In the 1990′s the volunteer fire department moved to a new facility located on RM 1431, and the city’s police department took over the old fire building.  In the early 2000′s, the city acquired the volunteer fire department building and equipment, and now employs a full time chief and some part time firefighters, who work side by side with a growing number of volunteer fire professionals.

The city ultimately purchased the private water utility system, and began the daunting process of upgrading the system first installed in the 1960′s with undersized lines and no fire hydrants.  In 2005, the city, under pressure from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, built a new drinking water treatment plant, as the old plant was undersized for the growing community.  The plant is sufficiently large to serve the current population, and is expandable to serve growth for the next 30 years, and its construction prevented the city from being under enforcement orders with potential penalties from TCEQ.

Home Rule Status

In addition to the Sherwood Shores subdivisions, Web Isle, SCS, Blue Cove, and Green Acres subdivisions are located in the city, along with parts of other subdivisions.  In 2005, the city determined that it had 5,025 inhabitants, which allowed the citizens to adopt a home rule charter to provide for self-governance.  In November. 2005, GS voters, by more than a 2 to 1 margin, adopted the charter which converted the city’s government from a general law city in which the elected mayor ran the city’s operations to a home rule city, to one in which a professional city manager runs the city, with the city council and mayor setting the city’s policies.

The city initially hired John Gayle as its first interim city manager.  Gayle had over three decades of city management experience, with over 20 years at the helm of the City of Snyder, Texas, a community with about 10,000 residents.  After about four years, Mr. Gayle departed to tend to family matters and the city council hired John Hatchel as its next interim CM, another retired city administrator with decades of experience, the last being an assistant city manager of Waco, Texas.  In February, 2011, the city council hired its first full time city manager, Judy Miller, a former city manager of Marble Falls and Sonora, who, like her predecessors had over 30 years of experience in city management. As the city’s first full time CM, Ms. Miller has already begun making changes to improve city services to its customers (its residents and taxpayers), and she has received direction from the city council to focus on service, code enforcement, and continuing to prepare the city for the growth that is already occurring in the city.

Businesses in GS

Granite Shoals has always had limited amounts of commerce due to the fact that the city does not have sewer service available.  Nearby Marble Falls, and even unincorporated Kingsland, which are not that much larger than GS, both have sewer service and far more economic activity.  Sales taxes from GS go to those communities.  Llano which has about the same amount of residents as GS, and even Horseshoe Bay which has fewer residents than GS, both have sewer systems and both boast far more commerce than GS.


Marble Falls ISD serves GS, and has built Highland Lakes Elementary School in the city, and has sufficient adjacent land on which to build a middle school in the future.  Due to the very high cost of installing a septic system to serve the elementary school, the District has stated that it will not build a middle school in GS until a sewer system is available.

Tourism, Parks, Recreation and Economic Development

Tourism has always been the primary draw to GS, and with the city’s 18 parks, and improvements planned to the city’s municipal complex, tourism will continue to be strong.  Tourism brings clean dollars to the city from other locales, and introduces people to Granite Shoals’ natural beauty and other attributes.

In 2008, the city purchased 131.6 acres of land at RM 1431 and Phillips Ranch Road, with the stated purposes of providing for land for the city’s needed wastewater treatment system, large open spaces that will allow the city to build needed recreational facilities (none of the city’s existing parks were large enough for a baseball or soccer field), future economic development, and a large office building that could be renovated to serve as the city’s new city hall.  By 2008, the city had already outgrown its over 30 year old city hall, and the city council found that renovating the existing building would be more cost effective than building a new facility.  The newly renovated building also began to set the standard that the city expected for future development in the city.

Upon completion of the purchase of the land, the city hired Sefko & Associates to help draw a new comprehensive plan for the city.  A citizen task force worked for about year with the consultants to develop a bold new plan, which called for  changing standards for new subdivisions and construction, continued needed progress in code enforcement, and a new zoning ordinance.  The city has adopted a new subdivision ordinance to help implement the plan, and is developing a new zoning ordinance.

City officials began work to seek grant funding from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to build some recreational facilities on the 131.6 acres, and engaged the volunteer services of noted architect Marley Porter, to develop a site plan for the recreational facilities.    The plans include open spaces, soccer and baseball fields, that will be irrigated by underground drip irrigation from the proposed sewer plant.  Phase 1 of those plans also calls for an amphitheater, an outdoor classroom, basketball courts, a small splash park, a natural area and playscapes.  The city’s match for the grant funds will be its contribution of the land, and the city will learn in August as to whether the grant will be funded.

In 2010, the Andy Roddick Foundation, announced its intention to build the Andy Roddick Tennis Center in Granite Shoals, with the city leasing the foundation land at its newly acquired municipal complex, in return for the construction of tennis center, and guaranteeing GS citizens the right to use the tennis courts when the foundation was not utilizing them for its programs.  The complex calls for 18 regulation courts and two QuickStart courts for junior tennis players, and has been designed by Marley Porter, who has generously given the city and the foundation his services.  The two QuickStart courts were completed in 2010, and the foundation has fundraising events in place to help fund the construction of new adult courts in 2011.  In partnership with MFISD, third grade students from the elementary school are already using the QuickStart courts to learn tennis.  The foundation intends to increase its program to other grades, and to ultimately provide after school programs for interested youth.  The United States Tennis Association, which has provided funding for the courts, has already stated that it will sanction official tournaments in GS, which they have stated will bring millions of dollars into the community.  Lodging and dining facilities will be needed for the center, but they cannot be built without a sewer system.

In addition to the Roddick Tennis Center, local Olympian and NCAA champion track star Leo Manzano, who grew up in Granite Shoals, has lent his name and expertise to the city, along with Marley Porter, to design several miles of hike, bike and running trails at the municipal complex.  The city has also applied for a grant to fund the trail construction, with city’s match being the land and abundant granite gravel on the site.  These trails will bring new users into the community, and provide a place for GS residents of all ages to get some exercise.


Citizens for Progress