Over the last two weeks, we’ve received myriad good news when it comes to growing the local economy.
First off, the Kerrville State Hospital announced it will add 260 jobs as part of a $30 million renovation and expansion of four buildings. These jobs are going to pay well, have great benefits and add more professionals to the regional workforce. If there’s a downside to the story, it’s anticipated a lot of these future workers will have to live in San Antonio because of the shortage of affordable housing and a tight labor pool in the region.
However, the Kerrville City Council is working hard to try to reverse that trend by passing — on second reading — a sweeping change to the city’s zoning and planning ordinances. The thought behind the changes, or reforms, is to tighten the many zoning districts and loosen some of the square foot restrictions when it comes to building affordable housing.
For some, the allowance of a 3,300-square-foot lot size speaks of dense urban areas, which seem out of character in the Hill Country, but it’s the sign of a pragmatic tool to at least provide an option to attract builders who want to maximize lot size. While some were aghast at the decision, there’s no danger of the city being overrun by tiny houses squeezed onto equally tiny lots, because these changes are limited in their scope. That’s a good thing for the future of our community.
We’ve also seen momentum from the grassroots effort to enhance Clay Street through the Kerrville Urban Trails System, which would greatly extend and enhance the Main Street District’s reach and experience. H-E-B is closer to breaking down on a dramatic remodeling of its Main Street store.
The acquisition of Centennial Bank by Happy State Bank and previously announced building and relocation plans by Broadway Bank is another sign that the growing Hill Country is prime for investment — not to mention ongoing construction of the new Hobby Lobby, Harbor Freight and plans for a downtown hotel.
It’s been a good summer for the economy here, and we’re looking forward to seeing how it moves forward as we close out 2019.