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City Council discusses local business, workforce development, brainstorms solutions to overcrowded parking downtown


A file photo of the San Marcos City Council meeting chamber.

At its May 17 meeting, San Marcos City Council heard a presentation by the Greater San Marcos Partnership (GSMP) detailing how the group has been pursuing small business development, business retention and expansion, business attractions and workforce development in San Marcos.
Among the recent initiatives have been four educational events held for the community, the creation of a “one-stop-shop” online database to assist owners of small businesses and counseling services available that focus specifically on maintaining small businesses.
Jason Giulietti, president of the GSMP, also discussed how the group has worked to diversify. Recently, GSMP coordinated with Texas State and other businesses to organize a job fair accessible in both English and Spanish.
GSMP also collaborated with school districts in Hays County to help students pursue careers in trades and technical work. They were awarded the Perkins Grant, which provides a curriculum to help students enter the fields of plumbing, pipefitting and electrical work.
“Now that we have the funding in place, [we can] provide that educational training to the students within those school systems to give them a path forward and then ultimately match them with employers as they graduate through those programs,” Giulietti said.
The council also discussed current efforts to improve parking in Downtown San Marcos. In an update provided by the Parking Advisory Board, San Marcos Director of Public Safety Chase Stapp detailed the board’s recent actions and goals.
According to Stapp, parking spaces located at 312 W. Hopkins St. will be available beginning this summer for employees working downtown. As part of the Parking Advisory Board, Mayor Jane Hughson assured the council that this has been their main priority before looking at any other methods of opening up parking in the area.
“We need employee parking first, because that’s a lot of people that are parking downtown, and unfortunately getting tickets at times. And so that’s what we’re working on now,” Hughson said.
Stapp also brought up renewed efforts to enforce parking violations downtown. Part of this initiative is to send letters to those who fail to pay parking fines incurred.
Stapp also discussed the possibility of making downtown San Marcos a “pay to park” area. However, council members did not support the idea, believing the city should have better public transit before implementing parking fees in the area.
Among those hesitant to support the idea was Councilmember Mark Gleason, who worried the new fees would drive away business in the area.
I just worry about the additional costs and burdens it adds to making a trip a quick trip downtown for a cup of coffee or a doughnut,” Gleason said.
Creating a “park and ride” system that would shuttle people to and from downtown is on the Parking Advisory Board’s agenda, but it is not clear when this will be established.
Councilmember Gleason also brought up the possibility of implementing parking validations for those who choose to shop downtown, discouraging the use of these spaces by those who are not shopping or dining in the area. With this method, customers at businesses in the area would receive a voucher that, once presented when they exit the parking area, would waive or significantly lower fees associated with parking.
“I know that’s extremely complicated to implement because every business has to be involved in it, and a lot of technology involved, but that might be one way that I might consider supporting a parking downtown,” Gleason said. “But as of right now, I can’t see myself supporting [paid parking].”
Councilmember Maxfield Baker also suggested that should paid parking be implemented, it be active only at certain hours, such as in the evening when nightlife causes overcrowding in the area.
According to Mayor Hughson, however, parking fees downtown will not be implemented until far in the future.
The San Marcos City Council meets at 6 p.m. every first and third Tuesday of each month. For more information, visit the City Council website.

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