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San Marcos River activists criticize La Cima film studio development in public forum

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Local environmentalists discussed how the planned construction of a film production company, called Hill Country Studios, in the La Cima Development will negatively affect the San Marcos River during a public forum on June 22.
The forum was organized by Protect the River, a grassroots movement established in response to news of the film studio and was open for the public to attend.
The film studio, which was announced during the June 7 City Council meeting, is set to break ground April 2023. Covering 820,000 square feet, the project will incorporate production stages, workshops, office and support spaces, along with retail space for public use.
While city officials boast that the new studio will encourage large-scale economic expansion in San Marcos, locals are concerned that the project’s location on the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone will endanger the ecosystem, endangered species and overall health of the San Marcos River, along with causing more flooding in the city.
According to Executive Director of the San Marcos River Foundation (SMRF) Virginia Parker, impervious covers, defined as water resistant structures like pavements are one of the main factors to be worried about with the development of Hill Country Studios.
“If we pave over the recharge zone, the rainwater that refills our aquifer and thus our springs won’t be able to enter our aquifer, and not only that, that’s not flood mitigation,” Parker said. If we pave over the recharge zone, and that raindrop is not able to go down into the ground, but it runs downhill past Texas State and you know, into the BLANCO, into San Marcos, down to Martindale, etcetera, and we’ve got worsening floods.”
Texas State alumnus Kat Huizar invited those in attendance to a time of prayer focused on the San Marcos River that her Native American church will hold for 12 hours in Willis, Texas on July 24.
“If we are not living or even trying to live in harmony with nature, like we are only hurting ourselves and ruining opportunities for ourselves to be happy, be healthy, be free, like all of these things that each soul is here to experience. And I think that the best way to do that is obviously peaceful protesting, just bringing awareness spreading the word spreading your facts about the situation setting, about how you feel,” Huizar said.
Other attendees spoke of their own experiences and why they do not support the development of the film studio.
Alexander Neal, who graduated from Texas State with a bachelor’s degree in geography, resources and environmental studies, described past experiences with a film crew from “The Walking Dead” in February 2020 that did not respect local legislation regarding river conservation.
“They began to mine the bed and banks of the San Marcos River to make whatever little scene they wanted to make, and they did this without a permit,” Neal said. “This is the reality of what these crews do.”
Activists are planning a protest outside the City Council Chambers on June 28 at 5:30 p.m.

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