SA-ATX: The Next Connected Megaregion
Beyond the Greater SATX region, the larger Central Texas corridor is moving towards the next major metropolis – with SA-ATX being dubbed the next megaregion.
Here at greater:SATX, we believe that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. In 2021, we formalized our Greater San Antonio regional economic strategy to align the coordinated efforts of our 8-County MSA. Beyond that, a large part of our 5-year strategy is centered on expanded regional collaboration as it relates to how we invest in our people and place to grow quality jobs.
A dominant asset in our economic development space is access to a high quality of life reflected through greenspaces.
Today, San Antonio has over 150 miles of parks, open spaces, and trails. Open spaces like the Riverwalk and the Pearl are not only popular attractions for residents, but tourists from all over the world. They serve as economic engines for people of all ages to enjoy and experience our community. As you move outwards in the region, places like New Braunfels with the Comal River and Schlitterbahn have a similar draw, thus encouraging not only a city-centered economic focus, but a regional economic and tourism engine that helps build our economy from all sides.
A recent economic impact study of the Riverwalk concluded that 14 million visitors and locals create a $3 billion annual economic impact for the city of San Antonio. Another study shows that the San Pedro Creek redevelopment is estimated to have an additional $1.5 billion annual economic impact upon completion.
Beyond the monetary impact for businesses, why else is this important?
We have discovered through the research in our recently launched talent attraction campaign, Life Works Greater, that a top priority for people looking to move to a new city is access to outdoor recreation. These perspectives, coupled together with directly attracting businesses, work together to symbiotically improve the natural and business landscape of the megaregion.
Initiatives like the Great Springs Project (GSP), a Central Texas-based nonprofit organization, are working to connect a network of trails from the Alamo to the Capitol and protect the watersheds of the iconic springs over the Edwards Aquifer between San Antonio and Austin. Through collaboration with many partners, GSP unifies and supports existing local efforts and catalyzes new efforts to address the most critical water, land, wildlife, and public health and equity challenges facing the Central Texas region.
A large part of making the megaregion a reality is engaging with business leaders all along the corridor. More and more, how we impact the greater economic base is ensuring employer engagement to fill the open jobs today and prepare for the jobs they need in the future. From the workforce perspective, we engage with leaders for their investment but also their time. From business leaders to existing residents, and potential future residents, everyone wants an initiative like this right now.
“The evidence is clear. People want to live where they can enjoy great outdoor recreation. With the Great Springs Project and an emphasis on green spaces throughout the megaregion, this is an investment in product development. We are in the business of selling the San Antonio-Austin megaregion and the Great Springs Project is helping us do that more effectively.”
Jenna Saucedo-Herrera, President & CEO, greater:SATX
Learn more about the Trail Connect initiative and how you can get involved at greatspringsproject.org.