Cibolo, Schertz and Selma are seeing commercial and residential growth, and successfully launching public projects, despite challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, their city leaders say.
Appointed and elected officials from the three towns spoke at The Chamber’s annual State of the Cities luncheon Feb. 23 at Santikos Entertainment Cibolo.
Schertz City Manager Mark Browne, Cibolo City Manager Robert Herrera and Selma City Administrator Johnny Casias briefly addressed how their respective municipalities navigated issues prompted by the coronavirus outbreak in 2020.
“It was a year of change, adaptability and resilience,” Browne said. “I think those are the characteristics that our communities showed to get through this year.”
Browne said Schertz’s business enterprises fared well. Sales-tax revenue increased 15% in Fiscal Year 2020 over the previous one.
He added local companies such as CalTex Protective Coatings converted some of their operations into making personal protective equipment.
Schertz began or completed regularly scheduled road repairs, with many projects benefiting from the lack of traffic resulting from temporarily shuttered businesses and people working from home. Schertz spent more than $5 million on street and sidewalk maintenance in 2020.
In 2021, Schertz officials will emphasize long-term strategies, including overhauling the city’s land-use plan, continuing beautification of the Main Street corridor, and building more park trails.
Cibolo’s residential development continued with 350 new homes.
“Because of the growth rate, through the pandemic, we learned how to better communicate via our social media and our website,” Herrera said.
Due to a shift in focus on essential services, Cibolo’s city departments improved how they listened to residents and merchants, he added.
Cibolo saw the opening of 18 businesses in the past year, including Magnolia Pancake Haus. Nearby, construction began on a new Willie’s Grill & Icehouse location.
The town just approved a building permit for a fresh Living Spaces along Interstate 35 North.
In addition, Japan-based Aisin AW, a vehicle-transmissions manufacturer, aims to hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony later this year on an assembly plant set to employ up to 900 people.
Cibolo in the past year issued $8 million in sales tax-supported bonds to fund road improvements citywide, and upgraded wastewater infrastructure in the FM 78 area.
Benefiting also were in-town civic organizations and recreational offerings.
Herrera said the YMCA has raised 90% of monies sought in a partnership with the city toward developing a Miracle League Field at the Cibolo Sports Complex. This project is aimed at meeting the needs of special-needs youth. Herrera also recently announced he is retiring in May after nine years with Cibolo.
Selma, too, saw business expansion during the crisis. Mercedes-Benz and tractor dealer Ewald Kubota both opened new dealerships. Selma also welcomed a new Penske Truck Rentals location, and the opening of Beyer Boys Air Conditioning and Heating’s new headquarters.
Juicery and coffeehouse, Jugo, launched from the Forum Pointe retail center.
“Selma was a natural choice,” co-owner Rafael Diaz Martinez Jr. said. “The city does a wonderful job creating infrastructure, a community feel, and ensuring a wonderful quality of life that aligns with our business model.”
The town also introduced a small-business reinvestment program to help local merchants through COVID-19.
Residential growth, too, continues in Selma. In the past year, construction began at Sunrise Village, a single-family-home development, and Citadel on Lookout, an apartment complex.
Selma, in 2020, also made strides in restoring the historic John S. Harrison House property, plus developing adjacent trails, tree orchards and native landscaping.
The city also completed construction of a Stage Stop Park splash pad, and hopes the coronavirus’ spread is further contained this spring or summer to accommodate a public grand opening.
This year, Selma will start a delayed project to improve and widen Evans Road. The city also is upgrading its municipal facilities, including building a public-works complex, and expanding the main City Hall structure.
Casias thanked The Chamber for holding the program despite the pandemic and a winter storm that delayed the luncheon by a week.
“Year in and year out, in Selma we see it as an exercise to count our blessings, and really to showcase the community and the various wins we had as a city,” he added.
Meanwhile, The Chamber is offering a game to substitute for its annual “The Taste” event, canceled last year due to the pandemic.
The Taste Local Flavor Tour began March 1 and ends March 31. Participants may buy a game card, $5 each, at The Chamber office, 1730 Schertz Parkway.
Gamers must visit at least three participating vendors. Those earning a sticker for each place where a purchase is made are entered into one of four prize drawings.
Go to www.thechamber.info/pages/TheTaste or call 210-619-1952 for more.