By Ethan Hogenmiller
San Marcos has seen a massive amount of growth in the last two decades. Since 2000, the city’s population has nearly doubled from roughly thirty-five thousand to over sixty-four thousand. (World Population Review) With this population boom, the city is engaging in in rapid urbanization, with new housing projects and businesses moving in at an almost daily rate. In response to this growth, many citizens have begun to wonder if San Marcos can maintain its new metropolitan status while still protecting its wildlife and offsetting its increasing carbon output. As people across the Earth becoming more aware of the dangers of global climate change, the city has made steps to lower the growing carbon output that has come as a result of its recent growth.
In September, the San Marcos City Council decided to support a proposal by the city’s Sustainability Committee to support this growth with their urban farming initiative. The committee’s goal is to set aside a percentage of local land for organic urban farms with each new urban growth project, which they hope will help offset the carbon output created by this increased development. According to Mark Rockeymoore, city councilman and member of the sustainability committee, this is an important moment for the future of San Marcos. “As a city, we’re trying to make the right decisions that bring the best of the past forward, while also being inclusive of some of the things that we think are necessary for San Marcos’ growth into the future, because we’re not going to stop growing.” he said. “Our population is going to continue to grow and we’re going to have to make some hard decisions about our city.”
Councilman Rockeymoore believes that this project will help fight the effects of climate change in San Marcos. However, some residents feel that we should attempt to restrict the city’s growth entirely. When asked how she felt about the city’s urban farming initiative, Texas State student Brianna Carcamo wasn’t convinced. “San Marcos is constantly introducing more buildings and businesses. I just feel like if we want to actually fight climate change then we should focus on limiting that growth, instead of just trying to make up for it with organic produce.”
While some San Marcos residents are hesitant to adapt the city’s growth, local government officials feel that there’s no way to realistically hold on to the community’s small-town roots, with officials estimating a population of over eighty-thousand residents by the year 2030. And the results of this growth on the community are already in effect, with new coffee shops, restaurants, and apartment complexes seemingly sprouting up around every corner. Seeing the city as it is today, it’s difficult to imagine San Marcos’ past as a railroad stop and trade post between Austin and San Antonio. But as more people enter the city, its agricultural land must be sacrificed to make way for urban development. With this rapid cultural evolution, many hope that the success of this urban farming initiative will allow the city to hold on to its agricultural roots.
As San Marcos continues to grow and evolve into a modern-metropolitan city, it can be difficult to let go of its past as a small town in rural Texas. But with people continuing to choose San Marcos as their home, the city must adapt and change to support this growing population. And while this change may be hard for some residents, others feel positive about the city’s future. Retired rancher Anne Williams lives just outside of San Marcos on the same fields her family has owned for generations. When asked how she felt about the future of the city, she enthusiastically stated that “I think it’s alright, I think we have to keep moving forward. You’re going to have development no matter what, but I think it’d be good to try to keep the farming aspect of the area intact.”
San Marcos population growth – Worldpopulationreview.com, 2019
Austin Texas population growth – Census.gov, 2019
City staffers: San Marcos could surpass 80,000 residents by 2030 – Impact Newspaper, 2018