FRONTIERS IN GEOGRAPHY
FRONTIERS IN GEOGRAPHY GRG 374
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Date Created: 09/06/15
Economic Development Proposal Douglas Buchanan GRG 374 Spring 2004 The Lockhart master plan presents a re ection of the cities potential for prosperity in the twenty rst century The plan is a guide for growth which can lead to an accelerated position for Lockhart in the urban system of Texas Lockhart a town of twelve thousand people has great potential for growth with two important strengths to utilize First of all Lockhart is a rural community with strong values and possesses ideal characteristics for family life Secondly Lockhart s proximity to the Austin metropolitan area affords their citizens the bene ts of a modern large scale city within a reasonable distance The plan takes into account the strengths and weaknesses of Lockhart and provides framework to both enhance the present strengths of the town and offer suggestion for progression in Lockhart s in weaker areas The plan contains an outline of the goals and objectives which would bene t Lockhart the most and an aspect of community preservation With key additions to the framework of an urban place that urban place can grow and nurture growth For many small towns employment for skilled workers is a serious concern Because there are few jobs for workers with degrees and graduate educations it forces most quali ed workers to nd work elsewhere And because most quali ed workers nd work elsewhere in larger cities businesses in need of quali ed applicants don t try and settle in smaller towns keeping these smaller towns from developing Lockhart has this issue known in my writing as the vacuum effect and this plan is about addressing it The heart of the economic issue in Lockhart is the apparent lack of skilled work force and a lack of jobs to support a skilled workforce The vacuum effect in Lockhart is still king The addition of either a two year community college or most especially a four year university would address both issues First of all a college or university brings jobs with it Ranging from the professors themselves to advisors to deans to clerical workers to the gardeners all levels of the workforce are addressed In Austin a town of nearly one million people the University of Texas is the number employer Not only will more people in Lockhart receive jobs but people will obviously be recruited from around the state and region to teach and administer at a university A program centered on two or three well funded colleges and offering a few dozen majors will also be a key tool in attracting students from the region and at the same time modest enough to be well supported by state budgets as well as private trustees A branch campus of Texas Tech or Texas AampM would appeal to the rural lifestyles and settings that Bryan College Station Lubbock and Lockhart all have in common As students enter the scene in Lockhart housing construction grocery and restaurant industries can expect significant business benefits With college students also in the workforce more small businesses can move in and operate with a temporary workforce which is beneficial to both employers and employees This in turn gives small businesses more of a chance to get off the ground before hiring full time workers With all of these student oriented benefits in mind it is important to focus on the longterm benefits of a college on a city for the future Becky Perine an official with the Austin Chamber of Commerce states that when businesses are recruited by Austin one of the most important features is our university in Austin s case holding 50000 people which each year presents businesses with interns and degree holding skilled applicants A university in Lockhart would have that same marketing weapon to boast As Lockhart s university grows hundreds of quali ed workers can apply with degrees to any businesses which are lucky enough to break ground in Lockhart Bringing in a higher learning institution reverses the ow of the vacuum effect and instead of sucking quali ed workers and jobs away from town they are now focused within the city limits Furthermore notoriety from any collegiate athletic team only stands to market for the town itself and remind businesses that Lockhart is successful and it is growing When a town has a university with it comes a sense of unity through diversity students of all races ethnicities and backgrounds come together and learn Learning about other cultures and learning to accept them is a necessary lesson for any city The introduction of a university to Lockhart brings with it jobs a skilled workforce a growing future workforce and an invaluable recruiting tool when attracting business to Lockhart Lockhart s university would offer a multitude of services to its city From music to theatre to athletics the university can provide recreation and entertainment to a town that doesn t have it now For instance at the University of Texas at Austin all music school s students perform at least once per semester That means symphonies operas and choirs of semiprofessional to professional skill level could be studying and performing in Lockhart Any citizen in the surrounding area has access to aticket and no longer has to get on IH35 and park in a garage to see such performances at UT Austin The same scenario applies to the theatre as all range of programs are open for public patronage and at a far shorter distance than Austin or San Marcos Thirdly art exhibits shown on campus will attempt to attract the region of Texas which is caught too far away from Austin College Station and San Antonio Other than the ne arts for entertainment in the town we have the realm of sports A University can incite some of the most fervent support from a community especially in Texas In central Texas most of the sports are dominated by division one big money sports organizations like UT and Texas AampM however there is still a large market for division three sports at the university level as is exempli ed by NCAA sports programs at Mary HardinBaylor Trinity University Concordia Lutheran Texas Lutheran Howard Payne Schreiner University and so on Lockhart would be a perfect t for this level of sports competition Needless to say a football program in central Texas where there was one before would be welcomed The second phase of this plan serves as a corollary to the university and to the bene t of the regional community The construction of a complex serving as both the Plum Creek historical museum and the main library and research center for the university will provide a resource for historical solidarity and community recognition for the Lockhart and Caldwell county area as well as foundation for research in Lockhart s higher institution It is important for Lockhart to plan for a historical museum for three reasons First of all a museum for the Lockhart area is key in giving this rural region a stronger sense of place and identity To separate the perception of Lockhart as a backwoods feeder town to the Austin metropolitan area a museum can give citizens of Lockhart a place that recognizes the long and hard fought history of gaining control of and civilizing this region Secondly this museum serves as another tourist attraction The museum is perfect stop just before or just after experiencing such ne barbeque As Lockhart s museum becomes a member of the various state and national museum associations it furthermore becomes eligible for receiving traveling exhibits which draws added attention to the region from atourist perspective Thirdly a museum is important to Lockhart for educational reasons Outside of students studying at the university Lockhart citizens can have a chance to learn about their own history and to understand the factors the shaped the way things are today in the region southeast of Austin The museum will be positioned on campus not only to attract students to patronize it but also to encourage mingling of nonstudent populations families and tourists to the campus area and campus area businesses This strategic location will be vital in encouraging grth of business and social function in the newly developed areas Important to note while considering this plan is Lockhart s position in the urban system of central Texas Lockhart a town of around 12000 people is somewhat dependent on the metropolitan city within the urban system in its region for resources Forty five percent of Lockhart citizens leave Lockhart to work in either a second tier city like San Marcos or in a metropolitan city like Austin To make Lockhart a second tier city requires more self A r J for work r and for quot As an important aspect of examining the feasibility of a university in such a small town the next phase of this plan is a comparative study of four universities located in small towns across the state of Texas The fact is we know about Lockhart and its potential but to understand the opportunity of success for this plan we must look at other small towns in Texas which have benefited significantly from university centers Before analyzing and comparing these schools we must take a look at why they exist in such small towns Colleges and Universities in small town have particular marketing avenues that draw students away from larger institutions Small private colleges provide an excellent tier two liberal arts education The tier rankings in the United States university system takes into account the available resources and endowment which a university has The key component to attracting students to a smaller school in a smaller town in many cases has to do with the up bringing of that student and the values that their family holds Many people from small towns went to high schools of a few hundred people and feel intimidated by settings of twenty and thirty thousand people not to mention schools of fty thousand such as UT Also many Texas families feel that small town settings hold less negative temptations for their children To some a small town is a place where there is less danger and less chance for students to get into trouble These are the prime incentives for places like Lockhart to attract students Furthermore with the mass in ux of applicants to the University of Texas at Austin and the ever falling acceptance rates smaller second tier schools can now compete for students who are not accepted by the major metropolitan universities Finally often times it is religion that plays a major role in bringing students to small town universities Whether the affiliation is Baptist Lutheran Methodist Presbyterian or Jesuit smaller schools in Texas more often than not share ties with Catholic or Protestant faith Since these schools are private there are few arguments with them and on the contrary the pursuit of a Christian education is often times a leading factor in getting students enrolled at smaller private organizations The town of Belton Texas is the rst of four prime examples of the success of small schools in small towns Belton is located sixty miles north of Austin and about forty miles south of Waco Texas This puts Belton only slighter farther from a metropolitan area than Lockhart Similarly to Lockhart Belton s population is around fourteen thousand people and the student population makes up just under 2700 people Belton is a smaller more rural atmosphere and seemingly a perfect t for students enticed by more conservatively valued schools Mary HardinBaylor University is af liated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas and conducts their academics with Christian values Mary Hardin Baylor offers a balanced Liberal Alt curriculum with schools of Business Christian Studies Education Fine Arts Nursing and Sciences and Humanities These elds are sure to draw the traditional religious student seeking a nontechnical degree and fully prepare their pupils Note that despite the small town rural setting there is not an agricultural training program to be found but purely a liberal arts setting The second featured University in this comparative study is Howard Payne University in the city of Brownwood Texas Located 131 miles southwest of Fort Worth and about 80 southeast of Abilene Howard Payne University attracts many of the same types of students as Mary HardinBaylor for the same types of reasons A town of about eighteen thousand people and a school of around fteen hundred coincide nicely with each other The academic programs at Howard Payne are quite similar to Mary HardinBaylor and feature schools of Science and Math Christian Studies Humanities Education Business and Music and Fine Arts Howard Payne University is a very balanced liberal arts curriculum with an emphasis on Christian religion Students look to Howard Payne as an alternative to Texas Tech University or Texas Christian University in favor of a smaller town atmosphere Thirdly we look at Kerrville Texas which is home to Shreiner University Kerrville which is located about one hundred miles southwest of Austin Texas and about seventy miles northwest of San Antonio is a small town of just over twenty thousand people in the middle of the hill country in central Texas With a student population of just over a few thousand people Kerrville fits the mold of the small town small school system Schreiner s curriculum is broken down in similar fashion to its small town small school counterparts as it offers majors in business ne arts humanities sciences religion and nursing Furthermore Schreiner boasts an honors college which features more rigorous training in the student s field of choice With less focus on religious affiliation Schreiner University can attract a multitude of students throughout the hill country from smaller towns such a Fredericksburg Blanco and Junction to students from the metropolitan areas of San Antonio and Austin The fourth and final example of my plan at work in other small towns is what I feel to be the finest example This features the town of Alpine with a population of a little over six thousand people which proudly supports and is supported by two thousand students at Sul Ross State University The town is truly an oasis in the vastness of west Texas as it sits over 350 miles from the nearest metropolitan area which is San Antonio The academics at Sul Ross are slightly varied from its counterparts in this study as three main colleges encompass all programs at this university The college of Professional Studies covers within it programs like Business Education Nursing and Criminal Justice The college of Arts and Sciences continues on with more liberal arts programs like Biology Mathematics Languages and Literature and so on The third college is the college of Agricultural Studies which is absent from the other three universities discussed in this plan In this region of Texas agriculture still has a prominent effect on the economic scene and thus accounts for one third of the curriculum at Sul Ross After comparing and contrasting these towns for this plan five important conclusions can be made First of all small universities in small town exist and thrive in
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