Economic expert praises Lockhart, but says to keep its foot on the pedal
By Kyle Mooty
Jay Garner of Garner Economics LLC in Fayetteville, Georgia, provided the Lockhart City Council at last week’s meeting a revised Target Industry Strategy for the Lockhart Economic Development Corporation.
Garner’s last appearance in Lockhart had been in August 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mike Kamerlander, Lockhart’s Interim Director of Economic Development, said the city had moved “quite quickly over the last three years. We’ve achieved a lot of the goals from the 2020 plan.”
Garner praised the city’s leadership and staff for reaching many of its target goals for the business sector possible.
“We do these reports all over the United States,” Garner said, noting that Lockhart was among his best municipalities from which to work. “The leadership — your policy makers — have been simply amazing in the success of attracting businesses over the last three years.”
Garner noted that Caldwell County’s projected growth over the next decade is at 12 percent, far higher than the national growth.
“That’s primarily for two reasons,” Garner said. “One is Texas is a hot commodity. Secondly, this whole San Antonio-Austin corridor is strong.”
Garner said Lockhart has appeal because the community “likes the ambiance of a store, the grassroots feel of a charming downtown, which you have with homegrown restaurants, and the ability to offer unique and memorable experiences for visitors and residents alike. All of this makes Lockhart a tool for talent retention and attraction.”
Garner suggested the city recruit a hotel developer and create an incentive passage. The hotel could provide a necessary business meeting space. He also suggested a convention and visitors bureau.
“Lockhart has a wealth of amenities that make it an ideal location for investors.” Garner said. “Now is not the time to take your foot off the gas pedal. The bar needs to continually be raised.”
Garner said the revised strategy should include large-scale manufacturers; auto parts, metal, and electronic manufacturing; food and beverage manufacturing; and tourism and hospitality.
In other business:
The City of Lockhart still has fans available for the public, free of charge while supplies last for anyone 65-and-older, disabled, a resident of Lockhart, and if they did not receive a fan during the 2020 Summer Fan Program.
For more information, call 512-398-3461.
Also, the Dr. Eugene Clark Library has been designated as a Community Cooling Center, effective until July 1. The library is open Monday from 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Tuesday from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Lockhart ISD has made Adams Gym at 419 Bois D’Arc a Community Cooling Center from noon to 6 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays. Water, Wi-Fi, and children’s coloring activities will be provided. There will be air conditioning. All are welcome, but children must be accompanied by an adult.
City Manager Steven Lewis said TxDOT has accepted the city’s truck re-route plan from SH 142 to SHS 130, but no firm time has been established for implementation,
A $100,000 donation has been made by Ronald A. Seeliger to the Dr. Eugene Clark Library. Seeliger, who recently passed away, was born and raised in Lockhart. The donation has to be used exclusively to acquire books, periodicals, or recordings in either a printed, analog, or digital format.
It was noted that the Seeliger family bought an ambulance years ago for the City of Lockhart years ago.
Movie in the Park returns Saturday, July 8. The presentation will be The Super Mario Bros. Ut is free to the public.
It was announced that the following non-profit organizations have requested funding as annual contributions for the City of Lockhart: Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center, Combined Community Action/Meals on Wheels; Lockhart Senior Citizen Center; CASA of Central Texas Inc.; and Caldwell County Food Bank.
The City will award fund at its July 18 meeting.
One of the two co-owners of Martin & Martin LLC , a Fixed-base Operator at the Lockhart Airport, has been replaced. Ken Reine transferred his share of ownership to Sam Carr. Keith Uhls will remain a 50 percent partner of the FBO. Martin & Martin LLC’s lease term of the FBO space ends Dec. 31, 2030, with the option to extend for two additional five-year terms. No changes to services are expected at this time.
In celebration of Independence Day, there will be a Fireworks Extravaganza at Lockhart City Park on Monday, July 3. Festivities begin at 5 p.m., with fireworks at dusk. Admission is free.
The City Council will only meet once in July, Tuesday, July 18.