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Texas Downtown Association honors local San Marcos institutions

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The Marc and Texas State University Recreation Programming Department have proven to be the gems of San Marcos in the eyes of the Texas Downtown Association.

The association’s Best Downtown Business Award in the over 50,000 population category went to the Marc, a popular local nightclub.

“I was personally really excited,” said Hector Garcia, general manager of the Marc. “This is big achievement.”

The atmosphere of the venue has played a large part in its rise as a popular nightclub and concert venue, Garcia said.

“Coming to the Marc is a very personal experience, and I think that has contributed to our success,” Garcia said. “We’ve really done everything we can to bring the venue up to par, and we’re continually trying to raise the bar.”

Dada Life, the Swedish DJ duo, and 2 Chainz are among recent performers at the venue.

“We strive to keep the people that come and to attract new guests,” Garcia said.

Texas State’s Recreation Programming Department took home the association’s award for Best Downtown Partner.

The university offers REC 2335, a course in which recreation program development students learn how to plan, provide and facilitate recreation programs in communities through hands-on experience.

Jessica Dupree, recreation administration professor, teaches one of these courses and plans to present her students with the award this week.

The department partnered with the San Marcos Main Street Program last summer to host Rhythm of the Street, an event Dupree believes is the primary catalyst for winning the award.

Dupree said the project was a complex multi-partnership. She said city planners closed North LBJ Drive and made it a two-way street for the day of the event.

“We were trying to show that changes to downtown can happen,” Dupree said. “Our students planned a parklet. The idea is that you take an unused space and make it something visually appealing. We took an overgrown parking lot and made it into a beautiful little park for a day.”

The Recreation Department helps fulfill a community need for leisure, and through partnerships with local organizations the department is capable of putting on bigger and better events, Dupree said.

“I love our relationship with the Main Street Program,” Dupree said. “They are a huge supporter and resource for our students. We could not provide them with the same level of experience without our partnership with Main Street.”

The ultimate goal of the partnership is the revitalization of downtown San Marcos, while simultaneously engaging students in an educational experience, Dupree said. Each of the department’s student group covers a block of downtown and provides decorations and cleanup services for the area.

“This kind of work is incredibly time-intensive and work-intensive,” Dupree said. “Our students are out there every day, getting sponsorships, recruiting people to come to events and meeting business owners. The award is a reflection of their hard work.”

The Texas Downtown Association was founded in 1985 for the purpose of bringing people and communities together to celebrate downtown develop and revitalization. The organization is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

“The awards program was created to share information about investments being made in downtowns across Texas,” said Catherine Sak, executive director of the Texas Downtown Association.