Nestled in the Texas Hill County, Kerr County offers an attractive quality of life and the City of Kerrville’s downtown amenities, making it a favorite among retirees. However, the county’s relatively low levels of educational attainment, high median age, lack of inventory for industrial or office users, and distance from large markets presented significant workforce challenges. A collaboration of city and county stakeholders was necessary to identify the area’s advantages and strategies to positively impact population growth, job creation, and investment.
The Kerr Economic Development Corporation (KEDC) contracted with TIP to facilitate a half-day retreat for economic development stakeholders. The retreat was held on May 21, 2019, with approximately 25 attendees, including KEDC board members, the Kerrville Economic Improvement Corporation, the Kerrville City Council, the Kerr County Commissioner’s Court, and the Kerrville Public Utility Board, with an open invitation to the public. The goals of the retreat included a review of TIP’s research and findings; a discussion of the area’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats from a site consultant point of view; an evaluation of goals and key economic opportunities; and developing next steps. The retreat benefited from the in-depth engagement of attendees, representing a variety of perspectives in Kerr. Three key goals emerged: 1) increase regional collaboration including the creation of a Hill County economic development organization; 2) create an economic development strategic plan to inform goals and metrics for success; and 3) realign assets for growth. Participants ended the retreat by selecting concrete actions that would help further the three priority goals within the next 30 days. To conclude the engagement, TIP provided KEDC a memo consolidating key data points, stakeholder input, goals, and recommendations.