More cooperation and communication needs to be fostered between the city and the university in all aspects of major operations, plans and social interactions.
According to a Jan. 24 University Star article, the draft of the San Marcos Comprehensive Master Plan presented to residents only mentions Texas State once among 113 objectives. The Texas State-specific objective involves the city partnering with the university to develop programming to engage new audiences in San Marcos’ economic development efforts.
According to the same article, Patrick Rose, president of Corridor Title, said the business community’s draft recognizes the importance of Texas State because San Marcos’ success depends upon the university. Although the relationship between Bobcats and permanent residents has historically been tumultuous, students and the university as a whole continue to boost and grow San Marcos’ overall economy.
Students would be more inclined to continue living in San Marcos after graduation if they were not treated as a separate entity concerning city plans and daily aspects of government. It should not be students versus residents when it comes to the future of the city. Rather, there should be a united effort between the two.
While the Achieving Community Together initiative is a step in the right direction, more work needs to be done to strengthen the student and resident dynamic within the city. Using Texas State as a resource and including them more in the plans for the city would create a more conducive environment and promote better, healthier growth in the city.
Confusion and major problems within the community dynamic could also be mitigated with a closer working relationship between the city and the university. Construction projects, for example, could be planned better around student and resident schedules.
Traffic seems to get worse every day, especially as buses are currently being rerouted through downtown San Marcos. Not only is this a burden to students, but it is also affecting residents. Improved coordination of school construction projects with the master plan’s projects could help keep similar issues from occurring in the future.
After graduation, many students leave San Marcos and head to other areas for work, thus contributing to the brain drain effect largely impacting the city. This may be the result of strained relationships between residents and students. San Marcos, which has struggled with poverty issues, could benefit from graduates creating or drawing business to the area, should they choose to stay. Alumni could possibly help the economy by joining the local workforce or opening businesses in town like the Katz brothers did with Dos Gatos and Zelicks. While the master plan tiptoes around this issue, it should be directly addressed.
The city and the university must make the decision to work closer and more cohesively. Students and administrators should be reasonable when working with the city to promote growth for both entities.