Downtown Kingsville will have both old and new structures from the looks of the plan. Keeping some things but including way more for the city of Kingsville to enjoy. As an exercise in farsightedness, a measure bent on future improvements to the Downtown District in Kingsville, Texas looks from the ground up.
A version of the Downtown Vision Plan was passed by a unanimous vote from Kingsville city commissioners on Monday, March 20. In its development and acceptance, the plan relates to a conviction that the key to strengthening the city is in starting with the skeleton of infrastructure.
A budget of $1 million is slated to be used specifically toward improvements to infrastructure, encompassing sidewalks, lighting, landscaping, repairs to streets, and drainage. In addition to this, a federal grant is being applied for this month; The Economic Adjustment Assistance and Public Works Program through the Economic Development Administration (EDA) could increase the city’s funding to an overall total of $2.3 million.
The Downtown Vision Plan, which has been under discussion for a year, is itself built on an earlier foundation. From as early as 2013, a group of students from the College of Engineering at Texas A&M University-Kingsville helped in laying the groundwork for plans related to changes in infrastructure, such as widened sidewalks and improved drainage. That initial work aided in informing the current Downtown Vision Plan, which is the product of collaboration between the city of Kingsville and the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Center for Urban and Regional Planning Research.
“We want to honor that work that was done,” City Manager Jesús Garza noted of the earlier contribution from TAMUK students, which provided a framework in developing the present project with UTSA.
While renovating historic privately owned buildings is the responsibility of owners, the Downtown Vision Plan is nevertheless meant to be conducive to further restoration by providing owners with a reason to polish their property through surroundings.
“We want to kind of lead by example and make the infrastructure improvements, and hopefully start a snowball effect and get others on board slowly but surely,” Garza explained.
Its realization might not be immediate. According to Garza: “It’s not going to happen overnight; it may take five to 10 years before this whole block gets restored…Nonetheless, we need to take the first step as the city and fix the infrastructure.”
The Downtown Vision Plan is still fluid and shapeable, as is its reach; whether or not federal funding is secured through the EDA grant will govern, in part, the extent of work that can be done. At earliest, renovations related to the plan could begin in 2018. Plans, like bones, have growth plates; schedules—like cities, sidewalks, and skeletons—are subject to change.