This year, the City of Schertz Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) proudly celebrates its 20th Anniversary!
The SEDC began with voter approval on February 3, 1998 and as part of a Texas Legislature program, which authorizes cities to create nonprofit development corporations. Funded from one-half of one percent of all sales taxes generated within Schertz, the SEDC uses these funds for specific projects that have been found by the Texas Legislature to promote economic development. Qualifying projects include creating/retaining primary jobs, job training, infrastructure, recreational or community facilities, and affordable housing.
Back in 1998, the City of Schertz had 16,295 residents (as compared to our current population of nearly 40,000). At that time, the SEDC had limited funds and relied heavily on the City, through its general fund, to provide financial incentives to help build the local economy. As Schertz has grown, the SEDC has become self-funding for all major economic development projects, freeing-up the City’s general fund for other purposes.
THREE CASE STUDIES OF IMPACTFUL PROJECTS
Throughout the SEDC’s first 20 years, three projects highlight the positive economic impacts that came through its efforts.
1) The first involves the development of 400 acres of property where Amazon, Caterpillar, Capital Group, Baptist Emergency Hospital, Frost Bank, and others currently operate. The project began in the early 2000’s as a vision to expand the Tri-County Industrial Area so that it would eventually become the leading industrial sector for our region. In 2007, the SEDC, City, and three developers worked together to construct the infrastructure improvements needed to attract quality companies. Two primary challenges arose: roadways and drainage. At the time, Schertz Parkway was only a small two-lane continuation of Lookout Road (and the Schertz section of Lookout Road did not exist), while drainage issues limited the area for development. Coming together, this public-private partnership allowed for the infrastructure improvements to be completed. The properties were developed, thousands of jobs were created for our region, and millions of dollars in new tax values have been generated for the City of Schertz.
2) The second SEDC project involved strategic efforts to add new office space for an emerging medical sector that previously consisted of isolated medical/dental offices scattered along FM 3009 and Schertz Parkway. In 2010, the SEDC provided a zero-percent loan for the development of Schertz Parkway Professional Plaza and, in partnership with the developer, worked to add new office space to create a medical cluster. The development attracted new companies not only within the development, but also to the surrounding area as Baptist Emergency Hospital, the Legacy at Forest Ridge, Focal Point Vision and others located along Schertz Parkway.
3) The third and most recent project involved the attraction of Evestra. A small business medical device manufacturing company, Evestra began in an incubator at the Texas Research Park in San Antonio. As the company matured, they sought a permanent location and were drawn to Schertz. The SEDC offered Evestra a Small Business Grant because they provide the City an opportunity to expand into the medical device industry, add to our manufacturing presence, and provide technical jobs that pay more than twice the county average wage.
SNAPSHOTS OF A GROWING COMMUNITY
These SEDC projects are just a snapshot of the variety of companies located in our community. Over the past 20-years each project has helped to attract new economic development, diversify the economy, offset the residential tax base, and create jobs that have positively enriched thousands of lives.
We give a special thanks to each of the resident-volunteers from the past two decades who have served on the SEDC Board of Directors and City Council. For more information on the SEDC, explore our website and our other blog posts.