Greater San Marcos Partnership seeks public input

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The Greater San Marcos Partnership is updating its five-year economic development strategic plan, the document that will help guide economic development in San Marcos, Kyle, Buda and surrounding communities through 2020.

As part of the process of developing its new strategic plan the GSMP is asking residents of Hays and Caldwell counties to complete a survey detailing the strengths and weaknesses of the regional economy. The survey can be completed through the strategic plan’s website.

The GSMP, an economic development organization serving Hays and Caldwell counties, created its original strategic plan in 2009. GSMP President Adriana Cruz said in the five years since that plan’s creation, the region has changed quite a bit.

“Assets that weren’t even in existence at the time—STAR Park, the Ph. D program at Texas State for materials science, engineering and commercialization—these things weren’t even in existence then, so they weren’t incorporated into our economic development strategy,” Cruz said.

STAR Park, Texas State’s technology incubator, is almost completely occupied and the university is considering expanding facility to make room for the growing number of companies interested in leasing space at the park, which sits on 38 acres.

The 2009 plan called for diversification of industry sectors beyond retail and improvement of per capita income. Additionally, the plan called for focus on fostering growth of “green industries” in the region.

Cruz said the amenities at STAR Park have helped put Hays and Caldwell counties on the path toward achieving that goal. 

STAR Park opened in November 2012, and only 6,700 square feet of the initial 20,000-square-foot building remains available for lease, according to the Texas State University website. 

According to the Texas State University campus construction plan, STAR Park is in line for a 16,000-square-foot expansion. The university will issue a request for qualifications from potential contractors this summer, according to the website. The total cost of the expansion is estimated to cost $15.3 million. 

“[STAR Park] is a significant change,” Cruz said. “It’s adding the additional industry sectors that maybe we had a desire for. Clean technology and renewable energy, we would love to have more of that industry sector here, but [companies in those sectors] actually now have equipment and tools for renewable energy research and applied research [in San Marcos].”