Meeting: Castroville Chamber Luncheon
Topic: Go Medina
Date: December 5, 2017
Matt Haby, president of the Castroville Area Chamber of Commerce introduced new members, A to Z Graphics and the River House Bed and Breakfast during the Chamber luncheon on Tuesday. He reviewed upcoming events for December before introducing guest speaker, Medina County Judge Chris Schuchart.
Schuchart was eager to share the economic development initiative, Go Medina County, which started just over a year ago. As the growth in population continues to press into the county and creates the burden of increasing county expenses, exploring solutions of how to handle it has become a big priority. Interested business and civic leaders formed the nonprofit to share and consider ideas.
Schuchart explained that government and businesses interested in joining the Go Medina County movement may participate at different levels of membership. Currently the cities of Lytle, Natalia, Devine and Rio Medina have joined. The goal is to attract businesses to move into the county to help build long-term economic well-being for businesses and residents.
New Braunfels is the fastest growing community along the IH-35 corridor, the judge said. Medina County has experienced a five-percent increase in the last five years. Currently, 3,000 new homes are mapped out on the east side of the county and this growth will not stop, he explained, offering some county statistics.
Ten percent of the county population are veterans; the median household income is $57,000. Texas has one of the lowest costs of living in the country, making it attractive to many businesses and individuals. Retail sales and real estate transactions continue to grow.
Currently, Medina County has no ordinances for development and compared to Bexar County, which is heavily burdened with ordinances, Medina County is 'developer-friendly.' Traffic counts on US 90 have reached 32,290 cars per day, and on IH-35, Lytle sees 36,000 cars a day.
Schuchart predicts that if business is brought in along IH-35, there will be little change in our environment and in what we have to pay in taxes. A combination of factors, including the installation of fiber-optic cable along US 90 (not available five years ago), the presence of Union Pacific Railroad, the availability of handling distribution of refined fuel from Hondo, and airports in Hondo and Castroville that can handle jet traffic, the opportunities are there for big businesses to come into Medina County.
Schuchart grew up in Medina County and never thought he would see the day it would be faced with the issues of today's changing demographics. But, new businesses are coming here. In a comparison between Medina County and Kendall County, he displayed their tax value data to show the positive impact that good economic development can provide residents. As Medina County continues to develop home sites, the need to attract big business is important.
Volunteers who work with the Go Medina County initiative attended the International Council of Shopping Centers Trade Show this year in an attempt to let retailers know that the county is developer-friendly. As leads come in from the Texas Economic Development Council, Schuchart said, prospective businesses interested in locating to Medina County are educated about the development opportunities that exist here. Schuchart hopes that Medina County will be able to hire a full time economic development director.His optimism about the future of Medina County was contagious. Several questions from the floor were answered. But everyone could sense that Medina County's quiet existence is about to change. Before introducing December's winners of the "You Make The Difference Award." Medina Valley ISD Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Rohrbach echoed Schuchart's amazement of the county's changing demographics, announcing the number of new students since May of the year to be 5,089; up over seven percent in just six months. A recent study predicts that in 10 years, the school district will have 10,000 students. He assured the audience that the school is preparing for this growth and will open two new schools by the end of the school year. MVISD's "You Make The Difference Award" recipient was Maria Guevara, administrative assistant for the curriculum, instruction and assessment department and a 24-year district staffer. Rohrbach said Guevara's work give him security and peace of mind. She has seen MVISD grow from 1,600 students to over 5,000 today. Her award and gift were sponsored by Southwest Gulf Railroad. From St. Louis Catholic Church, the "You Make The Difference Award" was presented by school principal, Karen Rothe to recipient Rose Davis, Pre-K teacher's aide. Rothe praised Davis for her compassionate dedication to the students, her dependability and ability to accept change. Retiring this year, Davis was very happy to receive the recognition which was sponsored by Medina Regional Hospital. Haby ended the meeting by reminding everyone to view and check out the useful tools on the Chamber's new website.
Business In Medina County
Medina County’s economic development roots date back to completion of Medina Dam in 1913. At that time, the dam was the fourth largest in the nation and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. According to the US Census Bureau, Medina County has a total area of 1,335 square miles of which 1,325 square miles is land and 0.2 square miles is water. The Median income for a family is $40,288. It is home to the cities of Castroville, Devine, Hondo (county seat), LaCoste, and Natalia. Unincorporated communities include Dunlay, Mico, Pearson, Rio Medina and Yancey.
It is largely an agricultural community, but is home to many thriving businesses. There are reasonable priced sizable tracks of land which can be purchased throughout the county. Medina County has no zoning restrictions and is very friendly to business development. There is a very good source of water and electricity throughout the County. GoMedinaCounty would like to expand the number of businesses in the County and is poised to assist in the growth and development of existing resources.