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City of Marble Falls officials and staff are looking toward the future of the downtown district. Downtown and Marketing Manager Erin Burks gave a progress report on the city’s Downtown Master Plan during the March 2 meeting of the Marble Falls Economic Development Corp. 

“(The plan) has been very successful,” Burks said. “The reason we’re bringing this to you is because we have to start a new Downtown Master Plan (soon). We’re almost out of projects, y’all.” 

Marble Falls’ downtown district encompasses 178 businesses located between Ranch Road 1431 and Lakeside Park, 305 Buena Vista Drive, with Avenue J and Main Street running through the middle. 

The current Downtown Master Plan was adopted in 2011 and outlines 13 civic projects. The 2011 document also includes 22 street projects aimed at improving sidewalks, parking space, and other pedestrian elements within the district, Burks explained. The city has been working toward completing these projects over the past decade. 

Finished projects in the plan include the construction of the Visitor Center, 100 Avenue G; adding a beach area and extra parking at Lakeside Park; and sidewalk improvements along Main, Second and Third streets. Relocating the city’s police station from Main Street to its current location at 606 Avenue N is another big project the city has crossed off the list. 

The EDC has also played a role in completing planned projects by providing funding for Phase 1B of the city’s Parks Development Plan, which includes creating a boardwalk leading from Lakeside Park to the old powerhouse structure. It has also facilitated and helped fund the Marble Falls Hotel and Conference Center project, which will include additional downtown parking and other improvements listed in the master plan. Construction on the hotel project is set to begin this summer. 

As the list of identified projects continues to shrink, the city is looking toward its next big undertaking: constructing a new City Hall.  

The current City Hall is located at 800 Third St. However, the Downtown Master Plan calls for a newer, more functional facility to be built “in the core Downtown area.” 

The City Council previously discussed possible locations for a new City Hall during a workshop before its Feb. 1 meeting. While it has not been decided where a new City Hall would be located, one site being considered is the old public works yard, about 3 acres of city-owned land located between Second and Third streets across from the Marble Falls Library Thrift Store, 300 Avenue J. 

“(The city has Requests for Proposals) out right now to look at two different locations and to see which is a better fit,” Burks said. 

Once relocated, the parking lot of the current Third Street location will be combined with Harmony Park, 215 Main St., to create an outdoor plaza.

As the city continues to grow, an emphasis on preserving and improving the downtown district, which is crucial to the tourism industry, will remain, Burks said. 

“Everybody uses downtown differently, and everybody uses downtown,” she said. 

brigid@thepicayune.com