Victoria city leaders briefed on growth outlook
The council also ...
• Approved on first vote the involuntary annexing of about 730 acres
• Approved spending $39,000 for uniform rentals
• Approved spending $65,761 for portable pitching mounds
John Stockbauer Drive, Houston Highway and North Navarro Street are all seeing millions of dollars worth of development, reinvestment and renovation projects.
During Tuesday's Victoria City Council meeting, Development Services Director Jared Mayfield said the community is just now grasping the amount of growth happening in the area.
"We've seen a lot of these projects come to fruition," he said. "They've come from being a paper drawing to coming to reality."
Where housing is concerned, Victoria saw an increase in homes built, from 90 in 2011 to 121 in 2013. Apartments and senior living facilities also are helping to make up a major shortfall in available housing.
Mayfield said the trend is leaning toward multi-family and rental housing. In 2013, his office permitted 504 new apartment units.
"It's definitely an exciting time to be in Victoria," Mayfield said. "There's no shortage of activity happening."
The increase in housing is being matched with commercial development and renovations, including H-E-B Plus!, Academy Sports + Outdoors and Target.
"It's always good to see national retailers investing in their existing locations," Mayfield said. "It's a good indicator of the health of our economy."
However, the growth is coming with its own challenges.
Councilman Tom Halepaska said the seven-member elected council is trying to find ways to encourage economic growth.
With a meeting set for April 1 on the city's capital improvement projects, Halepaska said the council's priorities could change from the previous year.
Last year, the council's No. 1 project was expanding Mallette Drive, he said.
"These projects can affect our capital improvement projects just because of that growth," Halepaska said.
Mayor Paul Polasek said there is more information to come between now and the April 1 infrastructure planning meeting. In the meantime, City Manager Charmelle Garrett said that March 18, the City Council will hear the results of its study on retail opportunities.
Overall, she said the growth the city has experienced is "very positive."