Speaking July 27 during the Kyle State of the City address, Kyle Mayor Travis Mitchell described some of the accomplishments and lessons learned during 2020 as well as several major infrastructure projects taken on by the city.
“I tell you as long as I live I never want to experience 2020 again,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell described what challenges the city faced and how it addressed them during the pandemic, the February freeze, and the subsequent loss of power and water as well as the rapidly rising demand and cost of affording a home in Kyle.
At the beginning of the pandemic, the city began monthly food distribution events in May 2020, which began with supplying food for more than 1,400 households. That has now increased to nearly 15,000.
During the February freeze, Mitchell said the city partnered with Hays CISD to set up drive-thru potable water stations for those whose water pipes burst or lost pressure.
“Never have I seen a greater demand for hose water in my life,” he said.
Comparing it to “pouring nitroglycerin on an already white-hot market,” Mitchell began to address the ways the city is and will continue to address the constant growth in the area.
This year, Kyle has seen 950 housing starts, nearly as many as the total from 2020, which was more than double the total housing starts in 2019.
“The demand is greater than the supply,” he said, and that scenario drives challenges with housing affordability. If population growth continues at its current rate, Kyle could see 200,000 residents in the next 14 years by his estimation.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 2019 estimates of Kyle’s population put it at 48,393. The city’s current estimate is 58,500.
Developers have also taken note of all the growth in Kyle as 1.3 million square feet of commercial development has been added recently.
“I would say commercial growth in the city of Kyle is a good thing,” Mitchell said.
Other infrastructure projects
With that anticipated growth, the city has rolled out several initiatives to help improve and maintain certain quality-of-life metrics, such as public park space per resident. The city requires new developments to include neighborhood parks, and the city is making improvements to two more centrally located parks, he said. Three more parks are currently in construction phase.
A skate park, expanded hike and bike trail system in east Kyle, and a large sportsplex in north Kyle are also planned.
The city is also planning a 44,000 square foot public safety building for the police department, though it will also house a temporary annex for other city services.
Prior to the mayor’s address, Mayor Pro Tem Rick Koch spoke on a major business announcement. As previously reported by Community Impact Newspaper, the city of Kyle and Hays County commissioners signed an economic development agreement with Costco, a large national member-only retailer, to build a 150,000-square-foot store in the Dry River District off I-35 in front of Evo Entertainment and Home Depot.