Among the top priorities recently identified by the Gonzales Economic Development Corporation has been the need for a new water tower in the Gonzales Industrial Park area north of town, said GEDC President Ken Morrow.
Morrow told the Inquirer the economic organization has paid for a pressure plane survey, which determines the elevation of areas within the city limits and what is necessary to provide adequate water pressure to customers in different elevations.
High pressure planes are usually found in lower elevations of a city, while low pressure planes are found in higher elevations. The Industrial Park is in a relatively low pressure plane, making clear the need for a new elevated storage tank, Morrow said.
“The survey basically yielded the result that we need more water pressure in Industrial Park,” Morrow said. “In simple terms, they studied the whole city, they looked at the water pressure and where water was. And the hope is to, in the future, build a new water tower in Industrial Park. That takes industrial Park, Walmart, H-E-B, BYK and the (Gonzales) high school and puts them in their own plane.
“So this water tower is really, really key right now, because we want Adams (Extract & Spice) to expand and we want other people to come in there and we want to proactively have enough water for the whole community,” Morrow added.
Morrow said GEDC is especially focused on developing the Industrial Park, as well as the property it bought in 2021 at 2212 Harwood Road. GEDC has done a professional plat of the area and has been doing national marketing of those locations as well.
“GEDC is really focused right now on the Industrial Park and helping develop the Industrial Park, but GEDC is also trying to market the property they bought off the Harwood Road,” Morrow said. “It is subdivided into lots and it’s being rezoned and all of that. Even when we bought the property, the intention was not only to bring business to town, but to give a great way to market the town on a national basis.
“(GEDC executive director Jennifer Kolbe) even told us in buying this, her experience in Schertz was that they did something similar. They marketed the property, and then everything else existing actually sold before, so some of the extra empty buildings up there in the Harwood Road area may actually move before ours. Someone may come and buy an old building in the Industrial Park area because we attracted them to the community. We may actually benefit Gonzales secondhand by buying this property and marketing it.”
Morrow said the GEDC board is also looking to put more money into funding the Gonzales Main Street program, to the tune of as much as an additional $100,000 to $150,000. As the owner of a downtown building himself, Morrow would like to see investment into creating living spaces in the commercial properties downtown and perhaps that is something Main Street can help spearhead.
“I don't have the finances, but a personal passion that all of the upstairs in these downtown buildings should be filled with living quarters, you know, where applicable, and then there would be a thriving downtown,” Morrow said. “It was a personal theory that if we got people living in the upstairs of vacant buildings, it would benefit the downtown. We've since gotten some information that that's actually been proven — there's data behind it. We can prove if we get people living downtown, believe it or not, it's actually better for tourism because it just creates an energy and a vibe.
“It's a strategy that we're trying to push forward. So, hopefully, we make good headlines with a board approval, city council approval of increased funding in Main Street to promote that concept in the near future,” Morrow added.
Morrow said the three newest board members — Dr. Elmer Avellaneda, Melissa Cowey and Ryan Lee — have been extremely passionate about increasing signage around the community “welcoming everybody to Gonzales.”
“To try to get a quick hit, we partnered with the Chamber of Commerce on a billboard to advertise Gonzales and we're going to look for more opportunities like that,” Morrow said. “I'm excited that we have three new leaders that have an agenda that they all three agree on, that we're going to try to march forward.”
Morrow said GEDC is also looking at building “something out of rock and metal, with an arch, like ‘Welcome to Gonzales’ that would involve TxDOT. It would involved a lot of people and have a kind of industrial steel look that would remind you of the Oak Creek Bridge.”
“We’ve also asked, ‘What if we paid somebody to put a little arch over those existing welcome signs in town — something that's classy, that has some metal, maybe even has some lighting in it. And it essentially highlights those signs and makes them bigger, more attractive and lit. That would be a win-win for the community.”