Texas Historical Commission Aims To Revitalize Small Town Texas

Dallas/Ft Worth (Bisnow-Julia Bunch) – May 11, 2017 – Texas is benefiting from a major population boom and urbanization in its major metros. But that sometimes comes as a detriment to smaller towns. The Texas Historical Commission is trying to change that by making historic downtown properties all over Texas more easily accessible to investors, developers and business owners.

Through its Texas Main Street Program and Town Square Initiative, THC launched a web application on May 1 called DowntownTX.org that serves as a public inventory of buildings in need of tenants, new ownership or renovations. “The goal is to highlight properties we think are ripe for reinvestment,” THC director Brad Patterson said. “When we envisioned this, we knew those smaller markets were typically lost in the big sites. This highlights properties and makes them more visible for investors.”

DFW is adding 393 residents daily and Austin adds 159 per day. Harris County’s population growth has slowed, but still looks robust with the addition of 56,600 people in 2016.

Bexar County added 33,200 residents in 2016. But you will not find any of Texas’ biggest cities on DowntownTX.org. From suburbs like Georgetown and McKinney to towns far from metros like Paris and Alpine, the site showcases towns with a mix of populations. Nineteen cities are available for searching on the site, but Patterson said several other towns should be live in upcoming weeks.

Most cities were introduced to the database through the Texas Main Street Program, which has 89 participating cities. Eventually, THC hopes they all will be on DowntownTX.org.  “I think it’s the greatest thing to happen to the Texas Main Street Program since it was established,” Bastrop Main Street Program director Sarah O’Brien said. “There’s nothing like it anywhere else.

I think this is something that will be emulated in other states.” O’Brien hopes DowntownTX.org will connect Bastrop to investors and developers to grow the downtown’s retail offerings.