The EDF also named Greg Lutz as the new Chair of the Board, with Chair-Elect Peter James and Immediate Past Chair Patrick Rose for the Executive Committee for the organization.
“Economic development is a competitive sport,” Rose said. “But there is no community of similar size in the state or in the region, or I would submit in the country with the compelling strengths of New Braunfels, Texas.”
Greg Lutz discussed the Confluence Economic Development Plan and commended the organization for continuing to promote positive economic growth.
“Confluence has six strategic priorities,” Lutz said. “[To] attract quality jobs in target industries, create competitive office and industrial spaces, support the success of startups, align and optimize the workforce, improve mobility and transportation options and execute proactive land use and development strategies.”
Those attending received a presentation on the 2023 Bond election that will be held on May 6, which will allocate $140 million for infrastructure and public facilities throughout the city. If all three propositions pass, there is no projected increase to the city tax rate.
City Manager Robert Camareno said the city did not anticipate having to call a bond so soon after the 2019 bond was past, but felt it necessary due to the growth in New Braunfels.
“If you drive around town, you'll see it,” Camareno said. “It's the growth that is occurring within our community. It's the delivery of projects that have allowed us to begin to have that conversation sooner than expected.”
Over $99 million will go towards transportation projects throughout the city focused on increasing safety and mobility in highly trafficked areas. Widening Common Street to four lanes with upgraded traffic signals at major intersections, and completing citywide street improvements are two of the largest projects voters will see on Proposition A.
If passed, the second phase of Mission Hill Park will be completed, with over $12 million going towards making improvements to the 10-acre park. A multi-level observation tower with a canopy walkway and soft and hard surface trails would be funded through Proposition B on the bond.
Voters will also see Proposition C on the ballot, which would allocate over $28 million toward constructing a new library branch in New Braunfels. The Southeast Library Branch would be a 23,250-square-foot building located on the corner of South Walnut Avenue and Settlers Crossing. The new library would feature quiet study rooms, meeting rooms, a public plaza and garden space.
The New Braunfels Economic Development Council reviewed priority projects that were proposed on the bond and partnered with the city on funding projects that aligned with the Confluence Economic Development Plan.
“Our EDC recently adopted a list of proposed 2023 bond projects to financially support once and if the funds are available... and they'll annually evaluate that funding capacity,” Camareno said. “We presented a priority project list to them and details of the next project phase and there was a consensus to move a number of projects over to the next phase.”
More information on the May 2023 bond can be found here: www.newbraunfels.gov/3561/2023-Bond-Election.