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The City of San Marcos hosted a community workshop at Love of Christ Church, 2377 Rattler Road, on Wednesday night where around 100 residents attended the event regarding the Second City Center Regional Area Plan. Above, residents provide feedback regarding the second city center plan during the workshop. Daily Record photos by Nick Castillo

LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE: Residents take part in city's Second City Center community workshop

Thursday, January 26, 2023

A standing-room only crowd packed into Love of Christ Baptist Church for the City of San Marcos’ Second City Regional Area Plan community workshop.

The second city center would be located east of Interstate 35 near the intersection of Rattler Road and McCarty Lane. The Second City Center Regional Plan is a part of the citywide Vision SMTX Comprehensive Plan process, which began in 2020 and is near completion.

Jay Renkins, principal consultant with MIG, Inc., said improvements made to the city’s Preferred Growth Scenario confirmed that the area envisioned for a second city center should “in fact be a mixed-use urban place, a walkable place with amenities especially those on the east side” of Interstate 35.

“They don’t have a lot of amenities and access to shops, restaurants and employment nearby [on the east side of I-35],” Renkins said. “The idea being that we can focus the growth in something like this area called the Second City Center, or in some of these other kinds of mixed-use concentrated areas. That would relieve the pressure on a lot of the other existing neighborhoods.”

According to the City of San Marcos,  the Regional Area Plan will address multiple topics including land use, urban design, transportation, connectivity, parks, equity, affordability, sustainability, technology, community amenities and infrastructure.

Renkins called it a strategic approach to growth with area planning for the second city center already existing within the city’s comprehensive plan.

“We want to try to preserve what we have but there’s going to be a lot of new growth, a lot of new development in the next 30 years,” Renkins said. “It’s very difficult to do that and have the localized conversations that are necessary to make sure that that’s truly context sensitive and truly fits into those places at the citywide scale. So, the area planning process is this idea of looking at smaller geographies and having smaller plans that support the big plan in essence.”

Above, residents express their thoughts regarding the Second City Center at stations with different aspects of the plan.

During Wednesday’s event residents and stakeholders were able to take an active role in planning for places to live and work in the envisioned second city center. Attendees were also able to provide feedback on the type of services, businesses, parks, roadways, bike lanes or trails envisioned for the area.

Elly Schaefer, planner with MIG, said the community already expressed desires for the 600 acre area expected to become the second city center through an online community survey. Schaefer added that key takeaways from the survey included concerns about traffic congestion, desire for grocery stores and preserving Cottonwood Creek which runs through the area.

Above, Elly Schaefer, planner with MIG, Inc., speaks to the crowd at Wednesday's City of San Marcos Second City Center Regional Area Plan community workshop.

Schaefer said they want as much feedback as possible with the Second City Center Regional Area Plan meant to be a guiding document for the next 20 years of growth.

“We really want to customize your vision from the comprehensive plan more specifically to this area,” Schaefer said. “The different elements of the Second City Center plan will include things like land use, built for connectivity and transportation, public spaces and parks, housing and employment. So, with all that growth expected to come.”

San Marcos Record

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