"The goal is to really create a vibrant, walkable, livable downtown area," said Tom Kennely of UTSA's Institute of Economic Development, who could be talking about any city in the United States, or even San Antonio.
Located on Hwy. 87 east of San Antonio, La Vernia is a community of about 1,000. UTSA is working with the City of La Vernia to bring people back to the community's downtown area, and the university also offers business development and community development for 79 counties from its San Antonio office.
Kennely, who is in charge of strategic planning on the La Vernia project, said so far they have developed five teams to outline the ground work. He said UTSA can take the community from research all the way through design.
"Like a gap analysis to kind of research the retail sales, location quotients, workforce. You know, maybe a SWOT analysis. Then we develop into a strategic plan or a vision or design plan, which we do in conjunction with the UTSA College of Architecture," said Kennely.
When it's finished, the La Vernia community hopes to have a plan to preserve its heritage, bring retail back to downtown, and address issues of safety, walkability and accessibility.