“We value the inherent character of the Hill Country – a beauty that is reflected by the landforms, the water features, the tree canopy, and the night sky. We value the identity of our community – a beauty reflected by our history, our built environment, and our people.”
- Boerne Vision Statement
Image Courtesy of Art.com
As any longtime Boerne-ite knows and has probably expressed: this town isn’t what it used to be. Full of charm and history, the beloved “Key to the Hill Country” has caught the attention and captured the hearts of thousands of new residents: in fact, the last 35 years have shown a population increase of over 400%, boasting a growth rate well over the national average. As of the 2014 census, Boerne's population stood at 10,618 people.
This whirlwind of growth and change has stunned locals, to say the least. The city quickly outgrew its existing utility systems and road capacity at a rate difficult to ignore. From a city standpoint, this kind of growth has two direct results: more taxpayer dollars and more work upon which to spend it. Needless to say, the city offices of Boerne have taken on mountains of paperwork, attended seemingly endless meetings, and brainstormed countless creative ideas to improve the seat of Kendall County...because a city as special as Boerne shouldn’t have to be hindered by traffic and water shortage.
Here, we’ve outlined a few projects (some completed, some in progress, some still in the planning phase) that the City of Boerne has taken on in an effort to improve the quality of life, maintain a “small town” look and feel, preserve the local identity, and utilize natural resources.
Image Courtesy of the City of Boerne
One of the most pressing items on the city’s agenda is to preserve and maintain the natural beauty of Boerne. One of Boerne’s greatest assets is, after all, its prime location on the Cibolo Creek, surrounded by the beauty of the Texas Hill Country. The city has labeled it a priority to incorporate the existing creek system, tree canopy, topography, night sky, and native areas as critical components in future community development.
In the next 10 years, Boerne plans to continue the growth and renovation of the park system by repairing, renovating, and extending the Old # 9 Trail (along with the possible addition of exercise stations), renovating Optimist Park (updating play equipment, installing safe fall surfacing, etc.), improving and extending the City Park Trail (including the addition of a new pedestrian bridge), developing Northside Community Park (adding trails, multi-use fields, an off-leash dog park, a pavilion, and basketball court), renovating and updating the local Swimming Pool, and more.
Local Art Initiatives
Image Courtesy of twitter.com/boerneart
The uniqueness of Boerne is manifested best in the local art scene...and since “preserving the spirit of Boerne” is one of the city’s top priorities, it only makes sense that an increased presence of public art would be on the list of action items! In fact, one of the city’s goals is to encourage Boerne’s growth as the creative epicenter of Kendall County.
To achieve this lofty goal, Art Al Fresco and Public Art initiatives are underway to grow and cultivate an even greater local arts scene. Last year, the Majestic Ranch Arts Foundation pledged two bronze sculptures to be placed near the Public Library’s new amphitheater. The Art al Fresco competition was launched, and ten temporary public art sculptures were installed in downtown and along Boerne’s trail system. Funds are in the upcoming year’s budget for use in purchasing and installing several new sculptures for the city’s permanent collection.
Downtown + The Hill Country Mile
Image Courtesy of Esperanza
If you’ve been in Boerne for any length of time, you know that the growth and preservation of downtown has been a huge part of Boerne’s development strategy. Not only does the downtown culture preserve Boerne’s unique heritage, it also has also increased the tourism industry that aids small businesses and draws attention to the local identity. The improvements and projects set for the next several years aim to make downtown a more enjoyable experience for everyone: safer, more inviting, and more walkable for visitors and residents alike.
The Hill Country Mile, a branding initiative for Main Street, has already played a significant role in preserving the rich historic and cultural identity of downtown Boerne and fostering economic growth and business diversity. Benefits have included: higher retail sales, more pedestrian traffic, and a safer and cleaner community. The City soon plans to encourage residential development, promote the area as the arts/entertainment center of Kendall County, extend Old No. 9 Trail along Frederick St, develop a pedestrian trail running adjacent to Cibolo Creek, improve and encourage street parking throughout Downtown, and promote more family-oriented attractions.
...but Boerne’s downtown is also so much more than just Main Street! The city plans to draw more attention to the rest of downtown, adding more entertainment venues and additional restaurants throughout downtown to activate both the economy and compel customers to move beyond Main Street. Again, an emphasis has been placed on residential growth in the downtown area...which could lead to more localized core services (such as a downtown grocery store).
South Boerne aka “SoBo”
Image Courtesy of Google Maps
While downtown is growing in retail and tourism, another section of Boerne has also made a name for itself on the local map. South Boerne, also affectionately nicknamed “SoBo”, has been growing into an attraction in its own right. The city recently put efforts forth to establish a distinct vision for SoBo: a unique, attractive, high-quality area that complements (but is very much separate from) The Hill Country Mile. The city hopes that Sobo will develop into a second “live, work, play” area. In preparation, several key road projects are literally paving the way for more growth and development within SoBo (see below for more on that…).
Image Courtesy of MySanAntonio.com
Roads in Boerne have a special duty: both functional and beautiful, they serve both as practical ways of getting around town and as scenic corridors to the Hill Country and Boerne’s natural features. In accordance, road improvements account for much of the city’s upcoming spending! An estimated $4 million will be is set to improve the local streets. Improvements include the Herff Road Project, Frontage Road Project (IH 10 Frontage Road), and a major upgrade to the Cascade Caverns/Scenic Loop Road intersection with Interstate 10. An improvement to School Street is also pending: formerly a county road, School Street now carries heavy traffic at peak periods.
Image Courtesy of prosperedc.com
Besides local tourism and residential growth, Boerne is looking to create a new, sustainable workforce that would improve the lives of the local population. In early 2006‚ a new Kendall County Economic Development Corp. opened its doors. The team hopes future development may include a hospital and medical care (San Antonio’s Methodist Hospital system is laying the groundwork for a Boerne campus), a satellite college‚ a resort or conference centers, and headquarters for small corporations. The city hopes to draw in the local well-educated‚ diverse workforce and concentrate on higher-technology businesses.
Local Utilities + Services
Image Courtesy of ResPro
Though it may seem like the least glamorous project on the list, improved utilities perhaps have the most widespread effect the local quality of life...after all, every resident needs water and electricity! Improvements to utilities include: a high-speed internet project that will bring fiber optic internet service to all residential areas in Boerne, increased gas service availability, and the conservation and management of existing water resources.
And in case you thought Boerne would stop there, here are several other development projects set to take place in the next several years!
- A Main Street parking garage
- A new cemetery near the Esperanza subdivision
- A convention center (pegged at $8 million)
- A new City Hall
And as the City of Boerne has raced to keep up with the ever-evolving needs of the community, it has so clearly succeeded in many ways! Boerne was recently ranked as the #1 Best Town to Raise a Family in Texas by Niche.com, taking into account factors like public education, safety, community involvement, and access to family necessities. Livibility.com also named Boerne #4 in Best Small Towns to Live and Visit in the country.
Longtime residents have expressed a mingling of nostalgia and protectiveness at the rapid change. However, we have to give the City of Boerne some serious credit: they have been working tirelessly to keep up with the ever-evolving population...and still ensure things somehow “stay the same”. As stated in the Boerne Master Plan Update, “The future of Boerne lies in the ability of our community to come together to strategically and proactively address what we value.”
Contact a Boerne REALTOR® today to see how your story can fit together with Boerne’s!