Nick Castillo Managing Editor @Nick_Castillo74 [email protected] Friday, April 2, 2021 San Marcos Regional Airport’s Air Traffic Control Tower will extend its operational hours by two hours each day to meet needs generated by increased air traffic, the City of San Marcos recently announced. The airport’s air traffic control tower will now be staffed from 7 […]
Vision 2025, as I will continue to share, is the region’s ambitious economic development strategic plan, developed by community stakeholders from across Hays and Caldwell counties for our communities across the two counties. As we move into the next phase of the strategy — implementation — community leadership and participation will continue to be paramount to its success.
Just as the creation of the Vision 2025 plan was guided by the community-based Steering Committee, a group of dedicated volunteers will form several workgroups to carry out the important work to accomplish the year-one goals. Each workgroup will be led by two co-chairs and supporting vice chairs. I’m pleased to introduce you to the leadership team for each workgroup now.
For goal one, Support Quality Employment Growth, our co-chairs are Caldwell County Judge Hoppy Haden and Dr. Gene Bourgeois, provost of Texas State. They will be assisted by City of San Marcos City Manager Bert Lumbreras, Don Tracy of Austin Community College and Thomas McKinney of Christus Health Santa Rosa Hospital as vice chairs. Among this workgroup’s tasks will include further maximizing our local and regional business retention and expansion efforts, executing and leveraging a new familiarization tour model and regional engagements, and institutionalizing our strategies for showcasing our region to site consultants.
For goal two, Optimize the Local Talent Base, our co-chairs are two school superintendents: Erin Warren of Luling ISD and Michael Cardona of San Marcos CISD. Assisting them will be San Marcos Mayor Jane Hughson, Lorraine Lane of Gary Job Corps, and Alfonso Sifuentes of Central Texas Refuse as vice chairs. Together, they will be developing a catalog of resources to create a one stop shop for business attraction, retention and expansion workforce. They will also be creating new programs for the region including a new Education and Workforce Summit, a workforce development council, and resources for the “at-risk” workforce population most impacted by COVID-19.
For goal three, Accommodate and Manage Quality Growth, our co-chairs will be Megan Shannon of Momark Developers and Jim Wimberley of Texas Aviation Partners. Kyle City Manager Scott Sellers, Caldwell Commissioner Ed Theriot, and Laura Dupont of Corridor Title who will assist as vice chairs. Transportation will be a major focus of this group. They will work to maximize development opportunities at the San Marcos Airport, alongside confronting the current and future transportation challenges of our region. They will also guide the improvement of databases that feature available property inventory to expanding and relocating businesses.
Finally, goal four, Enhance Community Appeal, will be under the leadership of co-chairs Pat Fernandez of Hart Properties and Meagan McCoy Jones of McCoy’s Building Supply. Assisting as vice chairs are Hays County Commissioner Lon Shell, and Tabitha Black of Brookfield Properties. Among their tasks will be exploring new and existing opportunities to support downtown vitality in each GSMP community, as well as engaging and partnering with Chambers of Commerce, EDCs and other stakeholders to unify marketing messages about the region.
Leadership has been established for our year-one workgroups, but there is plenty of room remaining. GSMP and its partners are actively seeking interested members of the community and business volunteers to get involved with participation in order to help deliver on these goals. If you or your company wants to get involved in this community leadership, please email me at [email protected]. We want to ensure a diverse array of perspectives help us achieve the best possible outcomes for our region and individual communities.
Each one of these workgroups will have critical work to make sure Vision 2025 is a success and I plan to share updates and progress throughout the year in this column. I also encourage you to consistently visit our website where we will share progress and plans for our next year goals.
I also would like to extend much gratitude to the leadership team and all those who have volunteered to take on these ambitious goals. Their work will be for the betterment of the Greater San Marcos region and ultimately facilitate the creation of new, good-paying jobs for Hays and Caldwell Counties.
If you have questions about Vision 2025, I am always available on Twitter at @JasonGiulietti. All of our Vision 2025 documents, including all of the community stakeholders who led on its creation and implementation, are available on our website at greatersanmarcostx.com/vision2025.
The San Marcos Regional Airport held an open house to showcase a new master plan for the airport this week.
On Monday afternoon, the airport introduced a new master plan for the facility. Since December of 2018, Garver — the planning firm — has been working with a Master Plan Advisory Committee and a stakeholder group on the plan, which will be broken down into a list of capital improvement projects. Then, an airport layout plan will be sent to both city council for their approval, as well as to the Texas Department of Transportation’s Aviation Division, who will send the plan to the Federal Aviation Administration for funding approval.
Texas Aviation Partners Director of Marketing and Business Development Cassidy Berenato said the last time the airport master plan was updated was in 2001.
“We’ve gone through and we’ve looked at what are our current operations, what is the current population in the area? Because this airport doesn’t just serve the City of San Marcos,” Berenato said. “It serves the greater Hays and Caldwell County region, so they looked at what does the population growth look like? What does the industry growth look like? Median income? What industries are the city and county looking for? Where do we see the interest coming from? How many base aircraft do we have? How many base aircraft do we expect to have in the future?”
By analyzing those questions through research from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Aircraft Manufacturers Association and the FAA, Berenato said the planners were able to get a good baseline of where the airport is today and where the airport will be in 5, 10, 15 and 20 years.
“What’s really great about this plan is Garver isn’t saying okay, year one of the plan you need to do this, year two you need to do this, year five you need to do this,” Berenato said. “What they’re saying is ‘Here are triggers. When your number of base aircraft reaches this number, this is what you need to have on the pipeline, when your aircraft operations get to 80,000, this is what you need to be doing that way we can better plan.’”
The master plan presented at the open house had several alternatives for runways, taxiways and land use.
The San Marcos Regional Airport currently has three runways: 8-26, 13-31 and 17-35. Berenato said the primary alternative for runways would eventually decommission runway 8-26, decouple runways 13-31 and 17-35 and extend runway 17-35.
The primary alternative for taxiways makes changes to existing taxiways, which in turn opens up more areas for development.
“So it’s all just about efficiency on the airfield, how quickly you can get planes in and out, get everybody out of each other’s way and make it the most efficient taxiway system as possible,” Berenato said.
The primary land-use alternative proposed by the master plan shows space for fixed base operator development, cargo development, commercial aeronautical development, non-aeronautical development, among others.
“The great thing about being able to market to non-aeronautical commercial operators is aviation, in general, is very cyclical,” Berenato said. “So when you have those non-aeronautical operators, you can help kind of steady out the revenue that the airport is getting, because it’s not as sensitive to these ups and downs that happen in aviation.”
Berenato said they wanted to make sure that the plan was as realistic as possible.
“We don’t want to make a decision today that’s based in a vacuum, where we could end up spending millions of dollars to do something that we think is the right thing to do today,” she said. “And it turns out that 2 to 5 years from now, we’re going to have to completely redo it or change it or become obsolete. That’s the worst thing we can do for this community. So in order to make a really smart decision on how to spend money, and how to improve this airport and continue to use it as an economic engine within this community, we have to be really strategic about not only what we do out here, but the timing and the order in which we do it.”