With food trucks becoming popular dining options for residents in Austin, Pflugerville, Round Rock and soon Georgetown, Hutto is hoping to tap into the trend and open its own food trailer park venue within the year.
The idea has been in the works for more than a year as part of an overall plan to revitalize the city’s downtown, Hutto Planning Manager Will Guerin said. Food truck businesses such as Skillet’s already have trailer-style serving points set up throughout Hutto, and companies such as Hey Cupcake! have inquired about launching locations in a Hutto-area food truck park.
“We know this is a growing trend,” Guerin said. “It’s very popular in Austin, and it’s growing into Williamson County and the surrounding areas. It’s something that we definitely envision as a positive use of our downtown area.”
The project will require collaboration among city staff, council and commissions to make changes to planning and zoning ordinances and the city charter as well as budgeting to install utilities.
A lot near Farley Street and adjacent to The Co-op in Old Town Hutto is currently under consideration for the food trailer park. Before vendors can move onto the property, water and electricity need to be routed, Guerin said.
“Our goal is to try to find a private partner to help manage it and the day-to-day operations [and]enforce whatever needs to be enforced,” Guerin said.
Because the city’s budget does not include funds for the trailer park, Guerin said staff will have to find money for getting the site ready and maintaining it once the park is built.
“Just to get electricity and water, it’s been a few thousand [dollars],” he said.
City Council discussed the project during a work session at its Feb. 28 meeting. Several members expressed concerns about bringing food trucks into Hutto versus more permanent food trailers. While food trucks are more mobile, the council is concerned trucks could leave the park at any time.
However, a compromise could involve regulating how the trucks set up business in the park, Mayor Debbie Holland said.
“[Council was] concerned about the general appearance of the area in terms of vehicles coming and going on and off the property,” Holland said. “What I think is going to happen is we’ll come up with some kind of guidelines on what that truck is going to look like.”
Guerin said staff is still discussing what amenities it will require vendors to provide, including eating space, trash cans, shade and landscaping.
But allowing mobile food trucks could bring more interest in the park, as more businesses will invest in less expensive truck operations rather than more expensive, permanent locations.
“We have been approached by some businesses that specifically want to do a food truck,” he said. “Part of the trend of food trailer parks is that it’s a good trial period for businesses.”
While some details have yet to be ironed out, Guerin said this summer is an optimistic guess on when the park could open.