Identifying strategies to strengthen infrastructure, enhance investment, and develop an attractive, lifelong, community
A community on the United States-Mexico border, Del Rio, Texas, boasts a rich cultural heritage, proximity to one of west Texas’s most abundant fresh water supplies, and an important agricultural sector. The city also hosts Laughlin Air Force Base, which brings new residents and families to Del Rio, and is a strong economic presence. However, despite these assets, Del Rio has not been positioned to capture Texas’ recent growth in jobs and population. Its military population is static as members and their families rotate out to other postings. Completion of the Highway 79 outer loop will enhance commercial transport, but traffic will by-pass the city.
Wanting to update its Comprehensive Plan, the City of Del Rio sought our expertise in community development, urban planning, and public consultation to create a robust and actionable document. The updated Plan was created through an inclusive, participatory public process. Our community engagement efforts sought to earn the buy-in of those who have invested in Del Rio and empower community members to become stewards of the Plan. Our methodology included a three-day design charette—a participatory planning process where an interdisciplinary team collaboratively drafts a plan through hands-on activities to engage community members and articulate their wants and needs.
Based on consultations and the design charette, our team’s Comprehensive Plan for Del Rio defines a vision-based set of goals and policy objectives that recognizes Del Rio’s assets and helps position the community to attract new economic opportunities. The plan recommends streamlining land development processes, repurposing streets and other infrastructure to be more resilient and sustainable, and harnessing the economic opportunities of Laughlin Air Force Base, strengthening the military community’s long-term contribution to Del Rio.
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