If completed — and enthusiasm is high — the Kerrville Urban Trails System could be one of the city’s
most significant private-public partnerships aimed at changing the walkability and the accessibility of the downtown area.
KUTS unveiled new concepts for south Clay Street, the centerpiece of a planned district that features landscaping and lighting that will improve the experience for residents and visitors.
WHY IT MATTERS
For those backing the KUTS initiative, the key driver is building out an experience that highlights some of the unique offerings along Clay Street — along with those on neighboring streets.
Alissa Priebe and David Cater of Outposts Landscape Architecture were chosen to develop a plan, which has been completed. These latest drawings, which were released via Facebook, show off some of the bikeability and walkability on Clay Street to Water Street.
One of the key elements of the project is to improve the connection between Kerrville residents by creating spaces where art and culture can flourish. Project planners also see it as a way to better connect the community to the city’s expansive trail system along the Guadalupe River.
“KUTS is a collaboration of like-minded people who see the potential of Kerrville,” said Jeremy Walther, one of the owners of Pint and Plow Brewing Company and a key driver of the plan.
WHAT’S THE REACTION?
On social media, the reaction was swift and positive.
“I’d absolutely love to see this happen for our sleepy little town in the near future,” wrote commenter Geri Mingell.
However, there’s also a perception that the plan will include significant public money.
“The most important thing is this a grassroots effort, this is not a city effort,” Walther said. “This is not completely dependent on public dollars. This was started with a small group of business owners on Clay Street.”
Overcoming objections is going to be one of the biggest tasks for the KUTS groups — as was seen after it posted on Facebook.
“Hey I’m happy to see Kerrville growing so fast but can we focus on affordable housing and new apartments?” wrote commenter David Raygo. “The Texas housing affordability index is the worst in the state here in Kerr County. That means for the average family income we have the lowest ratio for affording an average place to just simply live.”
Walther views the plan as an investment in improving the overall quality of life in Kerrville.
KUTS counts 21 businesses as financial backers of the plan, including those outside of the Clay Street area, where the first pilot
project is expected to be launched.
“The task of the designers is to come up with this pilot concept, but also think of it in ways on how it can be lifted and used in different parts of town,” Walther said.
WHAT’S IN THE PLAN
If constructed, the trail system will feature informational kiosks, pedestrian lighting, colored string lights that
span across Clay Street at strategic locations, street paint, a protected bicycle lane, landscaping,
crosswalks, benches, murals and other art installations.
The latest drawings show that Clay Street perspective, heading south, with lights strung across the roadway near Pint and Plow, as well as protected bike lanes along the thoroughfare.
WHAT’S THE COST
The first phase of planning has been funded by donations, including $18,000 raised by an event held last November.
Other events are planned, and Walther said donations are coming in that will help fund the conceptual work.
To learn more about the KUTS project, visit the group’s website at https://kerrvilleurbantrailsystem.org.