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Karnes City Downtown District Plan

Karnes City Downtown District Plan

A vision plan for revitalization and economic development

Project Sponsor: City of Karnes City
Collaborators: UTSA Institute for economic Development, Rural Business Program, Center for Urban and Regional Planning Research – UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning
Completed: December 2015

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This report by the Center for Urban and Regional Planning Research (CURPR) at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) presents a Vision Plan for economic development and improvement of the Downtown District of Karnes City, Texas which is the county seat of Karnes County. Karnes City is located at the intersection of U.S. Highway 181 and State Highways 80 and 132 and lies fifty miles southeast of the rapidly growing San Antonio metropolitan area.

Named in honor of Texas patriot Henry Wax Karnes, Karnes City became a flourishing trade and cattle shipping center in the late 1800s with the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway connecting the City to other locations. A post office was officially established on April 1, 1891 and the City won the December 21, 1893 County election to become the county seat.

This study was funded by Karnes City and also by the Rural Business Program (RBP), a part of the South-West Texas Border Small Business Development Center (SWTSBDC) Network which is hosted by the Institute for Economic Development (IED) at UTSA.

A number of recommendations are made to encourage economic development in Karnes City:

  • • Develop new lodging options in the Downtown District;
  • • Encourage the Adaptive reuse of historic buildings for professional offices and retail;
  • • Improve the existing City Hall complex;
  • • Develop a linear park along the abandoned SA&AP right-of-way;
  • • Promote economic growth via small business development and local entrepreneurship; and
  • • Attract new private-sector investment to Karnes City.

The Vision Plan is designed to assist Karnes City with the enhancement and development of Main Street and lay the foundation for future long-term growth and economic development in the city’s Downtown District.