Some of the state’s biggest towns still send tourists and retirees to the Hill Country. It is also a place where people move from other states, like California. But Kerrville doesn’t just want tourists and older people to come there. It wants to bring in new businesses and create skilled jobs here at home.
Judy Eychner has lived in Kerrville for more than 30 years and is now the mayor. From the Dairy Queen’s window, it’s easy to see that the traffic on Kerrville’s main street, Sydney Baker Street, is not what you’d expect from a small Texas town.
“There’s traffic, so we have to wait at a stoplight more than once, which we’ve never had to do before, so we complain,” she said. Eichner said that a lot of that business comes from Kerr County and the counties around it that are mostly rural.
She said, “Kerrville has become a hub.” “We’ve become a center for both health care and shopping. We’ve also become a center for arts and crafts, and a lot of our people don’t even live here. They’ve come to town for the day to go shopping, to the doctor, and to HEB. At night, they go back home.”
HEB Foundation Is Based In Kerrville
The HEB Foundation is based in Kerrville, which is also where the HEB food store chain started. There are a lot of different kinds of businesses in the arts and crafts scene, from small shops to James Avery Craftsman, which has almost 500 employees. Clint Orms Engravers and Silversmiths make belts for the Professional Cowboys Rodeo Association and the Ryder Cup, which is a professional golf tournament.
Most people work at Peterson Regional Medical Center, which is the biggest company. Another 500 people work at the Kerrville State Hospital. The Kerrville 2050 Comprehensive Plan has rules that the city council follows to control growth and protect the city’s small-town feel and outdoor life around the Guadalupe River, river trail, and parks. In 2018, the council agreed to it after hearing from many people in the neighborhood.
According to Texas Standard, The Kerr Economic Development Corporation is run by Gilberto Salinas, who is the CEO. He said that they have brought in a dozen new companies, including a few aircraft companies in the past few years. There is the main office of Mooney International Corporation. He said they got a Killdeer Mountain Manufacturing branch in North Dakota. This company is a big source for Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and the Department of Defense.
“The main things they make are fiber optic cables and computer boards. “I think that from Kerrville, they are making these nervous systems for 40 to 45 jets a month, for lack of a better phrase,” Salinas said.
Salinas said that getting local high schools and colleges to educate and train skilled workers for jobs in these fields is an ongoing process that has been helped by $2 million in recent state funding.
Salinas said that they are also trying to build more homes for workers in the middle class. People either live in very rich or very poor homes in the city. There aren’t many middle-class homes. The biggest home builder in the United States, Lennar Homes, has been busy in Kerrville. Salinas said that other companies had done the same.
“Within 18 to 24 months, we should see 3,000 to 4,000 new housing units, including single-family homes, multi-family apartment units, and/or condos,” Salinas said. “These are slowly starting to come in.”
He said that Kerrville’s high quality of life is a big draw for businesses, especially for CEOs who like being outside. “Fourth on the River” is Kerrville’s Fourth of July party on the Guadalupe River. As we have described the safest city to drive to make sure to check out Two Texas Cities Named In Top 10 Most Glamorous Cities In The US.
There are many things to do outside, like Fourth on the River. It has fireworks to celebrate the Fourth of July. In the past, it was led by the singer Robert Earl Keen, who was a favorite son. As the president and CEO of the Kerrville Convention and Visitors Bureau, Julie Davis plans many of these events outside.
Solar eclipses in October and April have been added to the list of big events that people from outside the country will want to see. With its often clear clouds, Kerrville will be a great place to watch from in the U.S.
“We are. Since 2017,” she said with a laugh. “We’ve been getting calls from visitors. We have someone that comes in every year on April 8 to see how the weather is. He’s been tracking it. So, [there’s a] very serious crowd [interested in] seeing this, and we’ll have several events related to that as well.”
Eichner said that she is happy with what Salinas and Davis are doing for the city. She said that Kerrville is going in a different direction than Fredericksburg, which is its closest Hill Country rival. In Fredericksburg, wineries, peaches, and bed and breakfasts are the most popular things to do, and the town is always full of tourists. You might check out the related post about The Texas Hill Country For Spring Vacation.
“We don’t want what Fredericksburg has,” said the mayor. “The people of Fredericksburg say they don’t even want to go downtown. So we don’t want to turn into them.”
Leaders of Kerrville said that the 2050 Kerrville Comprehensive Plan has helped them get ready for the 70,000 people who are expected to live there by the middle of the century. That’s almost three times as many people live in the area now.