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Jason Giulietti

Utilizing regional conservation for economic development strategies

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

During the Greater San Marcos Partnership’s (GSMP) annual board meeting on Oct. 20, the GSMP Board approved a new financial commitment to Vision 2025, our region’s community built and consensus-driven economic development strategy.

This commitment provides funds for the first phase of a support data mapping tool, which is critical to fulfilling one of Vision 2025’s key strategic actions: the development of a regional conservation development growth plan.

This decision to proactively identify the geographic areas throughout our region that should or should not be developed is rare in economic development. It is an intentional part of our region’s strategy, however, as both GSMP and our community at large finds it critical to preserve the region’s natural resources. Those resources include our river systems, aquifers, and the Hill Country’s natural beauty, all of which must be protected as we strategically plan the inevitable growth and development of our community. 

When fully completed, the conservation & development mapping tool will provide the newly formed Texas Innovation Corridor (TxIC) Future Development Committee with an invaluable resource to identify conservation lands, recreation areas, floodplains, impervious cover per watershed, projected population per census tract and much more. 

Headed up by co-chairs Megan McCoy Jones of McCoy’s Building Supply, Commissioner Lon Shell of Hays County and Jeff Nydegger of Winstead PC, the TxIC Future Development Committee will lead the creation of the regional conservation development growth plan. Together with its 29 members, the committee will provide a deep analysis of conservation, development, and equity issues in our region, protecting our natural resources, allowing our region’s appeal to be enhanced and attracting the quality employers needed to grow our economy in Hays and Caldwell counties.

GSMP, in collaboration with other key stakeholders, will provide the resources as necessary, including financial and administrative support. A big thank you to Watershed Partners who will also provide critical financial resources whereby Siglo Group will be the project lead for tool implementation, providing data, GIS and planning expertise throughout the multi-phase process. 

I am proud to say that this is just one outcome of our community’s collaboration to elevate the quality of life in our region. Other highlights from Year 1 of Vision 2025 have included execution on several offerings to help small businesses and entrepreneurs, the launching of multiple regional task forces to address transportation and workforce concerns, and new ways for our region to support downtown vitality. 

I want to thank all of the volunteers and workgroup leaders who made Year 1 a success with this strategy. We anticipate many, many more successes in Year 2 of this economic development strategy thanks to their continued work and leadership. Stay in touch with this column as we reveal some of those Year 2 expectations over the next several months.

If you would like to be a part of these community collaborations, I strongly encourage your involvement! Please reach out to me at jasong@greatersanmarcostx.com or to any of our GSMP staff members. We eagerly welcome your involvement as we all elevate the quality of life together here in the Texas Innovation Corridor.

San Marcos Record

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