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Granite Shoals envisions bright future with new businesses, tourism train

Granite Shoals Supermarket

Another boost to the city of Granite Shoals’ economy will come when the Granite Shoals Supermarket on RR 1431 opens. City Manager Jeff Looney said the store’s owner is working diligently to get it ready and added that other businesses also are eyeing Granite Shoals. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

After a recent economic development meeting, Granite Shoals City Manager Jeff Looney expressed greater optimism that business and retail owners will make the move to the city as well as tourists rolling into town by train.

In fact, Looney noted increased interest in the city.

During the City Council’s regular meeting Tuesday, Jan. 11, he noted a group has approached him about building a “substantial” apartment complex/duplex within the city, real estate agent Steve Zbranek purchased property on RR 1431 to build an office/strip mall, and resident Daniel Dominguez recently relocated his barbershop to Granite Shoals.

“(Dominguez) sees the growth and things we’re doing,” Looney said. “We want young people to invest here.”

A hurdle to further economic growth could be the lack of a wastewater system, Looney said, but business owners have shown interest in fixing that. 

“That’s a major issue they’re interested in,” Looney said. “We have major players and developers on (RR) 1431 who are willing to foot the bill. How we’re all working together will be the major issue. We’re not going to grow or develop unless we get that (wastewater system) done. They’ll foot the bill to a certain point.”

Looney is also optimistic about a train bringing tourists from Austin into Granite Shoals with meals, wine tastings, and theatrical productions on board. At Christmas, it could transform into a Polar Express. Officials project about 28,000 tickets sold each year with Granite Shoals reaping $25 from each sale.

“It’ll bring in jobs,” Looney said. “The train will go from here to Llano for the Christmas town and come back. This will be an event.”

City Councilor Eddie McCoy and Looney met with a theatrical group to perform on the train. 

An obstacle is the rail, which is owned by the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Austin’s public transit. The theatrical group is meeting with CapMetro to discuss plans.

“If that happens, it’ll be a positive thing for us,” Looney said. “CapMetro is the key. The lock has to open through them.”

He believes the railroad “will open up other commerce and other transportation things.” 

Looney is attending the Innovative Commerce Serving Communities convention May 22-24 in Las Vegas, where he plans to meet with business owners and corporation leaders to promote Granite Shoals.   

He also requests that anyone who thinks a specific business, corporation, or manufacturer would be a good fit for Granite Shoals contact him at citymanager@graniteshoals.org or 830-598-2424.

“If you have any desire to see any business you think will fit here, please get that to me,” he said. “I have to make appointments ahead of time before I go (to the convention).” 

jfierro@thepicayune.com