“Why Downtown?” was a question I was often asked when the EDC started working on the creation of a tax increment reinvestment zone (TIRZ) back in 2012. I think that people underestimated Downtown’s value and wondered why we weren’t focusing our efforts elsewhere. Today, I think people have begun to recognize Downtown’s value—or, if not, at least its potential—but the questions remain about prioritization of projects. To begin my response, I will share the same quotation here that I included in a blog on the TIRZ in 2013:
“The downtown is the only part of the city that belongs to everybody. It doesn’t matter where you may find your home; the downtown is yours, too. Investing in the downtown of a city is the only place-based way to benefit all of its citizens at once.” Jeff Speck, Walkable City
Taken as a whole, Downtown Marble Falls is the city’s third-largest employer and the third-largest generator of sales tax for the City and the EDC. It also happens to be the community’s largest concentration of locally-owned businesses. Where else can you walk to a dozen restaurants and more than fifty totally unique shops, salons, and galleries—not just in Marble Falls, but in any town of 7,000 people?
From the Downtown Master Plan, to the Parks Master Plan, to our hotel and conference center project, we have focused our efforts on developing Downtown Marble Falls into a destination for both locals and visitors. Our strategies have included supporting existing business owners, preserving and enhancing historic buildings, partnering on parks projects, and welcoming new investments in the area. A healthy and vibrant downtown benefits everyone who lives, works, and plays here, and it allows Marble Falls to maintain much of the charm and character that other communities so close to large urban areas have lost.
Going forward, I’m excited about Jardin Corona and Fiesta Winery opening in Old Oak Square, as well as the Marble Falls Chamber’s new event, Slide Marble Falls, on Father’s Day weekend. I can’t wait to see how the old police station gains new life. The same goes for the city hall redevelopment that should take place in the next few years and the new projects between the library and Lakeside Park. Downtown Marble Falls is poised to be the perfect blend of heritage and progress, and it should emerge as the community’s meeting place for old and new friends alike.
If you ever have questions, comments, or concerns about the EDC’s plan of work, please don’t hesitate to get in touch to set up a meeting—preferably, somewhere in the Downtown area.