by Cyndy Slovak-Barton
The excitement was palpable as the Kyle city staff and council members were called on stage to make a major announcement at Tuesday’s Kyle Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
Mayor Pro Tem Rick Koch announced that Costco chose Kyle for its next project, will be located next to EVO Cinema on I-35 in north Kyle, and should be completed in the next year or so.
The business people in attendance cheered because they understood that a major company like Costco brings in a large tax base and jobs that pay well.
The announcement fit in to Mayor Travis Mitchell’s State of the City address, as he talked about six philosophies the city strives to meet.
It boils down to quality, and Mitchell said that incentives will only be given to businesses that adhere to higher standards.
That’s a great thing to strive for, and the force behind the changes coming to Kyle can be felt in projects that were recently announced, and ones that are just on the books.
With Hays County as the second fastest growing county in the U.S., and with the east side of Hays County growing the fastest, it is understandable that Kyle is expected to grow 10% per year.
Kyle’s population grew by 50% in six years and is expected to be over 60,000 residents by the end of 2021.
Buda and Dripping Springs are growing just as fast, so all of the cities are making major announcements, and making adjustments to their budgets to accommodate necessities.
That’s good for our tax base, but that means we will all feel the pinch as roads need to be built, as traffic gets heavier, as it takes longer to get from one side of town to the other.
But if you want to see a place where our children and grandchildren can get jobs, we need to look ahead.
Mitchell’s dad told him to “Get the big picture” when teaching him to drive – and that works well in this environment.
Buda, Kyle, Dripping Springs, San Marcos and Wimberley – and all the smaller towns in between – cannot take a myopic view of what is about to hit us.
Right now, Hays County’s population sits at 245,000.
But if you think about the growth that Kyle alone is experiencing, you are looking at a city, in just 15 years, that could reach 200,000.
If you look only at what Kyle is budgeting for, you get an idea what other cities are doing.
More people means a need for more parks and trails, renovations on our older parks and historic structures, designing and building a sportsplex, working with commercial developments to guarantee high-paying jobs and efficient infrastructure to those sites, getting roads built on time, and then projecting into the future what roads are needed for true mobility.
Finally, we have to make sure that water and wastewater facilities are available and ready for the growth.
When Tesla founder Elon Musk chose southeast Austin, just outside of Buda, for his new Tesla factory, he tweeted something that made city officials squirm.
Musk tweeted – “Austin ++” – “Urgent need to build more housing in the greater Austin area.”
Well, Hays County IS that greater area that Musk is talking about, and the cities seem to be stepping up and getting things done.
We all look forward to what the next few years will bring to us.