Lately, I’ve been getting some questions about the EDC’s plans with the South Main property we acquired last year. It seems that there are some concerns about the potential of high-density development along the waterfront that will diminish Marble Falls’s small-town feel. The purpose of this week’s blog is to address and assuage those concerns.
When the EDC first began contemplating the idea of purchasing some property to connect our historic district to Lake Marble Falls, the very first consideration was the preservation and enhancement of public access to the waterfront. We felt like permanent structures built by and operated by the private sector along the banks of the lake would not be in the community’s best interests. We felt like enjoyment of the lake in the area adjacent to Lakeside Park should not be a pay-to-participate proposition.
This is not to say that improvements along the waterfront won’t be made. If you look at the Downtown Master Plan—which was another primary consideration in our decision to purchase the property—amenities like trails, water features, a boardwalk, gardens, an amphitheater, and more are contemplated. I think it’s fair to say that any or all of these features, which are designed to make our parks more active, have a place somewhere in the overall development plan.
Of course, amenities like these are not free, so increasing density in other areas may be required to advance the Downtown project. Our strategy at this very early point in the process is to pursue appropriate public-private partnerships that will generate a variety of revenue streams while ensuring that the public is getting a good return on their investment. Projects identified in the Downtown Master Plan that fall into this category range from parking garages to a performing arts center to a hotel and conference center.
Ultimately, the market will determine the appropriate level of private investment in Marble Falls, but public involvement must be part of the equation. Community stakeholders have multiple opportunities to express their opinions about development in Marble Falls:
- Take the Comprehensive Plan Update survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MarbleFallsCompPlan
- Attend the Comp Plan Update Forum on Thursday, August 13th at 6:00 pm at Lakeside Pavilion
- Share your thoughts during the citizens’ comments portion of an upcoming EDC or City Council meeting
- Set up an appointment to visit with me or an individual EDC board member at your leisure
If you engage, I think you’ll find an open, receptive leadership team in Marble Falls that values everything that makes our town special today and embraces the challenges associated with fulfilling our community’s potential. Collectively, if we aim somewhere between quaint and cool, I think we’ll hit the mark.