SAN MARCOS (Texas)– As Austin and its suburbs merge into a larger metro area managing smart growth is taking top priority.
Data show that between 2010 and 2018 the Greater San Marcos area outpaced Austin in population, job and workforce growth.
“We were a growing region but really in our infancy when it comes to business growth and investment,” says Jason Giulietti, Greater San Marcos Partnership interim president.
That was five years ago.
Since then, the Greater San Marcos area, which includes Hays and Caldwell counties, has taken in 1,500 new jobs and nearly $200 million in capital investment, says Mike Gaymon, senior adviser with Market Street Services, a consultant company working with the partnership.
“The Amazon Fulfillment Center right behind me is a perfect example of that. Folks that travel up and down the I-35 Corridor can see the results of Vision 2020,” Giulietti says.
Now, partnership is forming Vision 2025.
“Part of what we’re trying to do is understand the environment that we’re operating in right now,” Giulietti says.
The group already discovered some challenges during growing pains like keeping up with housing and office space.
“Companies these days move very quickly, they want to know there’s an existing building available to occupy immediately. That’s a challenge though for our communities, we don’t have a lot of existing inventory to offer out to our clients unlike some of the other major cities,” Giulietti says.
He says the city of Kyle is changing that by creating building specs before attracting buyers.
Besides more office space, Giulietti says the next five years are about focusing on quality rather than quantity.
“Really helping move the needle when it comes to income. The more we can do that, the more we can create a vibrant community,” he says.
“What comes behind that is a restaurant scene, and the downtown is revitalized. All of that comes when we provide high paying jobs to our residents.”
Gaymon’s company is also working on Austin’s five-year plan and he says there are a lot of overlapping challenges.
“Certainly the San Marcos region is not Austin but there’s some component parts of it,” Gaymon.
He says two big ones are developing a workforce within the community and improving transportation.
“Transportation in Texas, transportation in San Marcos, transportation in Austin is a high priority,” Gaymon says.
He says as Austin feeds into the Greater San Marcos Area, the region needs to find ways to handle the growth.
“Let’s just don’t wake up one day and say, ‘What happened?'” Gaymon says.
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