Last week, the Marble Falls EDC Board of Directors voted to send a Downtown real estate acquisition project to City Council for their approval. The EDC published notice on April 1 to begin a 60-day clock during which a sales tax bond package will be submitted to the Office of the Attorney General for their approval. If all goes according to plan, the EDC would receive about $4 million in bond proceeds in early June and close on several properties in the Downtown area with the intent of paving the way for some development to connect our historic Main Street area with Lake Marble Falls.
The actions last week represent the beginning of the public process related to a project that has been in the works for just over a year. The EDC continually explores ways to bring the Downtown Master Plan to life, and the current property acquisition plan involves several civic projects identified in the plan, including a hotel and conference center, a performing arts center, open space improvements, additional parking, and sidewalks. Any combination of these amenities could be the end result of the EDC’s efforts to bridge the gap between two of the area’s greatest assets.
In order to accomplish our goals associated with developing Downtown’s potential, the EDC will have to rely on partnerships to assist with planning and funding. In addition to City Council and staff, one partner could be the Downtown TIRZ board that should be appointed this year; another partner may be the City’s Capital Improvement Plan committee and their Downtown CIP budget line item. The Marble Falls/Lake LBJ Chamber of Commerce and CVB, the Parks and Recreation commission, and the Planning and Zoning commission—all groups with which we have established relationships—will be involved in the process. The entity most critical, however, to the success of our project will be situated on the private side of a public-private partnership.
We communicate regularly with people or firms who want to get involved with Downtown development in Marble Falls. Over the next several months, we will be exploring creative business models and concepts with the intent of finding the right private partner(s) and striking the proper balance between vision, reality, and sustainability.
If you would like to get involved in this process, either as an area citizen or a capable partner, please get in touch with us—we’d love to hear from you.