Today’s Chamber Board of Directors meeting featured a lot of valuable information and several award presentations. The main program was delivered by Victor Garza, City of New Braunfels Economic Development Manager, on the City’s Economic Development Strategic Plan and work that has been done to date.

Prior to Garza’s presentation, two staff tenure awards were given, Blue Coat quarterly winners were recognized, Chamber Life Memberships were awarded, and two Chair of the Board Awards were announced. Tyler Hoffmann, the Chamber’s CVB Digital Media Coordinator, was recognized for 10 years on staff, and Phyllis Foerster, Vice President of Membership, received a tenure award for 30 years with the Chamber.

The Blue Coat of the Quarter winner was Art Brinkkoetter and the Senior Blue Coat of the Quarter was Helgard Hollis. Chamber Individual Life Memberships were awarded to Christine Seidel, Sandy Payson, and J.P. Kesselring. To receive a Life Membership, a Blue Coat must achieve 3,000 points in five years. Two Chair of the Board Awards were also announced: Ron Reaves was honored in the field of community planning and Dr. Melissa Miskell received the award in the field of women’s health.

In accepting his Chair of the Board Award, Reaves and City Planning Director Chris Looney gave an update on the City’s Comprehensive Plan. The Comp Plan is a vision of what residents would like the community to become over the next 15 to 20 years. During its development, more than 8.800 citizens participated. The Comp Plan has received the recommendation for approval from the Planning Commission and will be voted on by the City Council in August. Dr. Miskell also gave an update on her organization PINCC. The non-profit works in developing countries to train healthcare professionals on how to identify and treat precursors to cervical cancer.

Garza’s presentation reviewed the Economic Development Strategic Plan’s five goal areas: Workforce, Quality of Place, Entrepreneurship, Regional Transit and Real Estate. For workforce housing, the Chamber is currently preparing request for proposals for a feasibility analysis. The metric for this area is an increase of 20% in affordable rate units. In entrepreneurship, the City has continued funding and support of the SPARK Small Business Center.

The regional transit goal was included in the City’s Comprehensive Plan and the city is currently pursuing funding for a local/corridor transit plan. For real estate, the City’s involvement in recruiting TASKUS to fill 40,000 square feet of office space will help show the feasibility of a large office in New Braunfels. In the quality of life area, the downtown sidewalk projects are nearing completion and funding was secured to extend that project, parking improvements have been made on Hill Street, sidewalk café regulations have been approved, street improvements are underway on the Westside, and the economic development plan has been integrated into the City Comprehensive Plan.