With 95 percent of the project design complete for the Main Street at RM 967 improvement project, Buda officials are preparing for the long road ahead.
Part of the city’s strategic plan, in conjunction with the Main Street Program, is to protect the downtown businesses during the construction by hosting events and urging citizens to continue supporting downtown.
The Hays Free Press reported construction to improve Main Street at RM 967 is anticipated to begin in late September 2019 with completion by March 2020.
“We’ve known about this project for quite some time and we are in continuous contact with our downtown businesses as construction plans have shifted and changed,” said David Marino, the public information officer for the city of Buda. “Our local businesses will continue to be part of the process.”
Maggie Gillespie, Buda Main Street manager, said the program will focus on community outreach that includes bringing Buda residents to downtown.
This includes hosting events throughout the span of a day to include a diverse pool of citizens who attend downtown, from morning goers to shoppers and late-night outers.
“Downtown is for everyone, so we want to make sure we are reaching everyone throughout the day,” Gillespie said.
In addition, Main Street will ease restrictions on grant money allocated to local businesses. Currently, the program will match 50 percent of marketing funds from downtown businesses as long as the money reaches 30-miles outside of the city limits to promote outside tourism.
Under new guidelines to help aid the anticipated construction, Main Street will match dollars used for marketing within the city limits to neighboring Kyle.
Gillespie said the program will also manage expectations during the project, which includes reminding citizens of the final product when construction is done and adding additional signage in downtown to direct visitors where to park.
“Yes, it may be a little bit of a headache, but the end result will be wonderful for our downtown,” she said.
On Feb. 19, Gillespie updated the council on the Main Street’s annual report, as required by state guidelines.
Texas evaluates Main Street programs across the state utilizing strict criterion, ensuring the programs have citizen and city support, adequate budgeting, comprehensive work plans and other factors.
According to the presentation, the state scored Buda’s Main Street program with a 102 out of 107 for fiscal year 2017. This concludes that gears moving Main Street are making a difference for downtown Buda.
Gillespie said 24 new businesses started, expanded or relocated during FY 2017, including 17 new businesses that call downtown home. This has created 70 new jobs in downtown Buda, a feat city officials credit to the investment made by citizens to the downtown district.
Nearly 100 percent of the downtown improvement grant was also utilized, keeping precious dollars to the downtown for routine maintenance and improvements.
“A lot of this comes from the support we have in our community,” Gillespie said. “Just look at how much our Farmers Market has grown. We’ll continue communicating with our citizens so they are aware of how things continue to progress in the future.”
A correction was added to the timeframe of the project. The story originally stated the Main Street on 967 improvements would begin in 2020 with completion in 2021.