Improvements on the way for downtown Round Rock

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by SHANNON MURRAY / KVUE NEWS and photojournalist DAVID GARDNER

Bio | Email | Follow: @ShannonM_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on January 22, 2013 at 6:25 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 22 at 6:41 PM

ROUND ROCK, Texas --  As more people move to Central Texas, the city of Round Rock is capitalizing on the growth with big plans for the downtown area.

This year Round Rock is celebrating 100 years. Along with a list of centennial events, the city is also looking at permanent ways to improve the quality of life downtown.

"It's a good atmosphere, I think. Round Rock has that really good atmosphere," said Anthony Pierce, who works downtown on Main Street.

Walking through downtown you notice the charm of historic buildings on Main Street, but city officials say as much as they're celebrating history, they are also making plans for the future.

"We always try to recognize the history while we're trying to transition and be prepared for the new growth that has occurred and that will occur," said City of Round Rock Transportation Director Gary Hudder.

The City has plans to improve the Main Street Plaza and the Centennial Plaza is now under construction. The new venue can be used for everything from concerts to farmer's markets.

"Our city council has put a lot of money into redeveloping spaces downtown and giving things a face lift," explained the city's Director of Special Events Kristin Brown.

In fact, several years ago the city council made a commitment to redeveloping the downtown area. Upwards of $45 million has been spent on utility and improvement projects over the last five years.

"We're investing a tremendous amount of money to bring businesses to this community," Hudder said. "Restaurants, maybe some night club activity, certainly retail opportunities; It's good for our tax base, and we believe it's good for our residents to be able to have a centralized location to do a lot of that activity in."

"It's important for a city to have a heartbeat, and a place you can point to and say, 'This is where things are happening. This is where things are going on,'" Brown said.

Pierce says the improvements are already providing a big boost for business. 

"With all the changes and live music down here, people get excited and come in to eat and walk around downtown," Pierce said.

So as the city prepares for the next 100 years, they hope downtown Round Rock will be a signature location for the community.

Right now the city has just over 100,000 people, but that number is expected to grow to more than 158,000 by the year 2030. The city says another focus with all of this development is parking. A new parking lot is in the plan, along with sidewalk improvements and pedestrian walkways.

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