The Kyle Planning & Zoning Commission held the first of two public hearings Nov. 17 regarding the city’s new proposed downtown master plan. The city hired Barnes Gromatzky Kosarek Architects in late 2021 to draft this proposal. Since then, BGK Architects has conducted workshops, outreach events and questionnaires to gather input from Kyle residents.

The document is a combination of the city’s design standards and proposed downtown master plan to ensure a cohesive design that aligns with existing infrastructure.

“These two complementary efforts will work in conjunction with the Vybe trail network to make Kyle, Texas as exceptional and unique as its history and charm,” the document reads.

The goals of the plan are to make downtown more family friendly and accessible, expand infrastructure to support restaurants and retailers, provide more residential options and more.

The proposed plan builds off existing structures throughout the area, including the building at 104 S. Burleson St., which the city purchased earlier this year and is in the process of renovating to turn into a downtown attraction with a restaurant or retailer on the main floor, an office space on the second and an event space on the third that can be rented out.

The city also owns half of the building at 108 and 110 W. Center St., formerly known as Papa Jack's, which burned down at the beginning of the year. The city and other owner Greg Henry, owner of Willie's Joint in Buda, will work together to determine the future of the building.

Additional efforts have been made to revitalize downtown with the renovation of Mary Kyle Hartson City Square Park last year as well as plans to relocate power lines underground. However, Center Street has various vacant storefronts, most notably the relocation of Milt's Pit BBQ to Live Oak earlier this year.

However, residential and retail support is not expected until at least the second phase of the plan, which will not begin for at least five years.

Phase one of the plan includes the 104 S. Burleson building renovation, the relocation of the Veterans of Foreign Wars building, street and sidewalk improvements, and more, which are expected to take three to five years to complete; however, "this downtown master plan is intended to be suggestive, not prescriptive," according to the document.

The first phase also has test projects that are "relatively inexpensive ways" to attract people to the area. The alleyway across from City Hall is the first identified test project "to be activated" with string lights, a wall mural, tables and chairs for public use.

Another test project would be to have local and student artists utilize existing infrastructure, such as traffic control boxes, crosswalks and light poles, for art installations.

Projects in the other phases include finalizing the train "quiet zone," adding a grocery store at 300 W. Center St., a hotel or restaurant facing the park, a parking garage on Lockhart Street, townhomes and more.

BGK Architects received insight through public outreach, which yielded more than 1,000 respondents in July, of which the top thing residents would like to see more of in downtown was restaurants, followed by a bakery, a specialty retail shop, and bars and entertainment.

Additionally, most respondents stated they would like downtown to be bigger and that the existing downtown does not have everything they need.

The planning and zoning commission will hold another public hearing Nov. 29; the City Council will hold a public hearing Dec. 6 and is expected to vote on adoption of the proposed downtown master plan Dec. 20.

To view the downtown master plan in its entirety, click here.