Finding its center? Dripping Springs begins implementing comprehensive plan

As the City of Dripping Springs puts the finishing touches on its Comprehensive Plan, moves are being made from within to start the process of building the conceptual framework that will fuel the plan’s development.

The City of Dripping Springs and Matt Lewis of Simple City Designs, which is an Austin based firm, discussed the prospect of setting up a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) to help finance potential projects within the comprehensive plan.

The creation the TIRZ would be in a district that the city would look to invest in as a center for growth in the future. There would be an incremental tax increase on the assets in that district, which would help pay for projects.

“This way the city would not have to pull from any reserves to fund these projects,” Lewis said. “Instead, what you have is a self-sustaining district that generates its own revenue based on the developments that are made within the area.”

As the plans for potential projects are laid out, the city will take into account future growth and accommodate for the increased need for utilities, transportation, and infrastructure.

Part of that process will be the first phase of Lewis’ contract. At that point, Lewis will help analyze potential districts for the TIRZ and help develop plans for developments within the TIRZ.

“We’ll be looking to get the district created, which requires us to follow state and local government codes, but we think that plans for the district and what it will look like will be available by the end of the year,” Lewis said about the timeline for creating the TIRZ.

Lewis said he was familiar with the process after having served as the Development Service Director in San Marcos. He said he helped the city with creation of a TIRZ that resulted in the current downtown sector.

Lewis said he was contacted by City Administrator Michelle Fisher, who heard Lewis speak at a conference and gained his assistance to carve out the comprehensive plan.

Part of that vision includes the creation of a Town Center that would consolidate an area of business for City Administration, Dripping Spring ISD Administration, and the DS Public Library.

“In order to create that downtown setting, we’d want to bring together those different groups together as a way of creating a district of shared services that benefits everyone and boosts business in the area,” said Lewis.

Lewis said development of the plan and town center is an “exiciting time” as the city sets up for its future.

“It’s also about protecting their culture and heritage, and creating something that builds a sense of pride in the community. I’m excited to be helping with this project,” Lewis said.

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