This all sounds great, really great, especially to a newcomer to Kerrville.
The Kerrville 2050 plan is something that the city has been wrestling with for some time, getting more than 400 people to participate in the process, and on Thursday, city leaders gathered to discuss the future of the ambitious plan to position the city toward the future.
This is hard work, it’s smart work, and it’s ultimately flawed. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because there is, despite the participation, someone who is going to complain that they didn’t know about all of this. That is a frustrating reality in a time of distraction, disruption and general not paying attention.
This is also a time of superheated partisanship, where obstruction and complaining rule the day, and then there’s always the lurking spectre of “Not In My Backyard.”
The nice thing about NIMBY-ism is that it doesn’t know political affiliation — red and blue are equally afflicted.
So, the city leaders in Kerrville will have a long road ahead when it comes to enhancing this community by satisfying the pressing needs of today. The 2050 plan really exposes something many of us know about Kerrville — it’s a unique and special place.
There’s been a lot of chatter about making this the new Fredericksburg. I don’t necessarily understand that thinking. Sure, Fredericksburg is cool and has a lot of character, but Kerrville’s upside is with it’s easy accessibility and friendly demeanor. After all, we’ve got an easy path to the Guadalupe River from downtown and Interstate 10 makes it easy to get here. Getting to other Hill Country places means the threat of running over a critter — or several — to get there.
This makes Kerrville an even more attractive place to visit and call home.
During Thursday’s meeting at Schreiner University, there was plenty of high-minded discussion about what’s to come, but the present was, well, very present in the minds of all in the room. Kerrville has a great story to tell — low unemployment, quality civic engagement and a red-hot housing market.
However, there is a flip side to all of those things, including an inability for employers to find qualified candidates for vacant jobs and a housing market that threatens to price many out of the market.
Some of that NIMBY-ism could rear its head as the city works to remake its planning and zoning ordinances in an effort to bring more affordable housing. We’ve asked that question here about 3,300-square-foot lots for single-family houses, and the reaction has been overwhelmingly that’s too small of a lot size.
It also runs the risk of deflating the value of homes, and that would probably trouble many who have seen their home values skyrocket in recent years.
The good news for the residents of Kerrville is that the city is keenly paying attention to the infrastructure needs for the next three decades, including water and transportation. If there are two areas that will have major stressors in the coming years, it will be in these two areas. In some ways, water is a little bit easier to forecast, but transportation is being primed for major disruption when it comes to policy around electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles.
I don’t think anyone is fully prepared for Siri taking over the car and driving us to Taco Casa for a sweet tea, but at least the roads will be ready. We hope.