San Marcos City Council elections are quickly approaching. The University Star sat down with Place 5 candidate Scott Gregson to discuss his campaign.
Born: August 9, 1956, Garrison, Texas
Occupation: Downtown business owner
Education: B.A. in Finance and Administration at Texas A&M, M.B.A. in Business from Harvard School of Business
Alexa Tavarez: Where do you call home and why?
Scott Gregson: I call San Marcos home. I began to invest here in 1996, about 20 years ago. And I did it because it was a great place—to me at least—between two growing cities. I moved here to the community in 2000 and moved downtown in 2006. I’ve really grown to love this community for what it is.
AT: What challenges are you expecting to face in your campaign?
SG: The same challenges that face every other candidate. It’s a marathon with a few sprints in the middle. You start out 90 days out. I started fairly early on. I wanted to be prepared because I’ve been involved in campaigns before. I wanted to be prepared for interviews like this as best possible and have my signs ordered. And then it’s just the dynamic. I mean, ultimately the people are going to make the choice. The evening of November the 3rd they will decide whether there will be a winner or a runoff. I’ll do the best I can, give it all I have, then at the end of the day if I’m the choice the people want, I’ll make a great representative for them.
AT: What issue is at the heart of your campaign?
SG: We can easily become another gas stop between Austin and San Antonio, easily become an homogenous part of a growing corridor. But then we lose who we are, our identity, that uniqueness and charm and vision I talked about. I’m committed to not have us do that. As a city we have a comprehensive master plan. That was a yearlong effort with about 50 people on committees, and we tried to put together a roadmap that takes into account the infrastructure needs of the city, how we can grow, where to grow. It will become part of our land development code that’s being rewritten now. But that’s a road map and I’m committed to stick to that road map… I’m committed to stick to that plan. We ask people to participate in the development of that plan, and at the end of the day if we really don’t follow them, we’ve turned our back on those who were willing to participate and spend their valuable time contributing.
AT: What are your thoughts on the amount of development San Marcos has seen in the past years?
SG: I’ve invested here since ’96 and I’ve seen a lot of development and cycles that we’ve had, up and down. The last cycle we had was interrupted by a big recession that we had. We are beginning to see those waves of development come back to our shores. And I think, based upon my earlier comments, what I view to be one of the biggest challenges we face as a city would be to make sure that growth occurs the way we want it to occur and we have the San Marcos we want, and that it is done the way and held to a development standard that makes certain that we’re not just building slums in our city or the next slum. It’s important we respect ourselves so that we get the type of development we deserve.
AT: Do you feel the city has handled economic growth well?
SG: Well, I think in some ways yes and some ways no. Let’s take, for example, the issue of Cape’s Camp. I was an advocate for Cape’s Camp to be a park and partly out of pure economic development perspective. I made presentations to the Greater San Marcos Partnership Board, their executive board, the Chamber of Commerce Board, saying we need to build a central park in central Texas and that can be it. It also served another purpose for us: It would provide east-west connectivity. Understand we are really two cities, separated by a band of concrete going north and south. And there is no way to walk across there without putting your life at risk—either a TxDOT intersection which you’re trying to figure out what light to watch or walking across a frontage road where cars are zipping up at 60-70 miles per hour or faster. I felt like Cape’s Camp could have been that connectivity between east and west or a walkable, bikeable link of our city. At the same time, part of that development happened. It certainly wasn’t the cause of the flood, but it certainly did intensify the impact of the flood in the Blanco Gardens neighborhood. I think as (a) city we need to be responsible for the citizens in this time of critical need.
AT: In regard to the never-ending drought, what role should the city play in regulating water consumption?
SG: Let’s think about who we are. And the genesis of this city was on the basis of the San Marcos River being here. We’ve been here ten millennia and at the basis of that growth and the energy, power dynamism, this city was generated by the river. We have a legacy, not only of education, but a legacy of water. And I think we should be good stewards for our water. Being on the utility advisory board, we’ve done a lot of work on that. It’s not so simple as to put on a bumper sticker.
Follow Alexa Tavarez on Twitter at @lexicanaa.