By Jim Mikula President/CEO
Last week, I spent much of my time on a journey of discovery and re-discovery of some of what Fredericksburg offers to its residents. As we “locals” go about our everyday lives, it’s easy to get into the routine of frequenting the same establishments, doing the same activities and forgetting to explore the abundance of options available to us.
On Monday, local realtor LeeAnn Bailey was kind enough to feature me on her podcast “Everything Real in Fredericksburg.” LeeAnn has partnered up with FBG.Live to film, edit and produce the podcast. Our conversation ranged from current Chamber initiatives to future new programs and why we enjoy living in Fredericksburg. You can view the podcast from the Everything Real in Fredericksburg Facebook page, the Fredericksburg Chamber Facebook page, YouTube, and FBG.Live.
Tuesday started with a meeting of an advisory group to review a draft of the city’s Comprehensive Plan. The report is impressive and includes significant input from the community. It also takes the visioning report “A Path to the Future” recommendations and assigns responsibilities and resources for those recommendations. I was most impressed with the brain power in the room. The advisory group is made up of of committed, smart citizens working to design a plan that will benefit us all for years.
That afternoon the Chamber’s Childcare Committee attended a presentation from a PEO, Professional Employer Organization, to review health benefit plans for our childcare businesses and potentially for all chamber members. With the ever-escalating medical insurance especially for small businesses, this committee will continue its pursuit to identify a PEO to support our members.
My first stop Wednesday morning was to take in Coffee with the City Manager held at Ladybird Golf Course. It was a full room—an example of how our citizens are encouraged to share concerns/ideas with the City Manager Clinton Bailey. The topics reviewed included our aquifer, wastewater treatment plant, sanitary landfill, and neon signs. A good blend of concerns, ideas, and laughter. I would urge everyone in Fredericksburg to take advantage of the opportunity to speak directly to our city government in an informal setting that invites diverse opinions and ideas.
Later that day, the Chamber Ambassadors held their year-end lunch meeting at
Arch Ray Resort to celebrate Penny’s service and retirement. We currently have 27 Ambassadors and three have been volunteers for over 30 years. WOW! This is a great example of volunteerism in our community—a cornerstone of our culture.
If you haven’t visited the relatively new Arch Ray Resort, please consider doing so soon. It is a grand facility, and the family developing the resort is also dedicated to providing Hill Country hospitality to locals and tourists alike. A good example of their community-mindedness is the concert they held last weekend. The concert featured Scott Stapp, the former lead singer for Creed, and Arch Ray priced the tickets at $35, making it accessible to a broad and local audience.
Thursday kicked off with an interview on KNAF radio, one of four radio stations broadcasting from an historical building on San Antonio Street. Jerry Sotello, the Operations Manager and morning host on the station, provided me the opportunity to talk about our Chamber and the new year ahead. The many ways that KNAF has supported our local community over the years includes the broadcasting of parade commentaries and its dedication to providing local non-profits to be featured on their various talk shows.
Friday evening, we were invited to Grand Central at Milam’s Christmas celebration featuring the Fredericksburg High School Choir. This is another excellent, new amenity for locals. When the outdoor entertainment area is ready in spring of 2024, we can all look forward to enjoying food, drinks and good music there.
Tomorrow when you leave the house, look at our town with fresh eyes – take a different route to work, look at what’s new on Main Street or in the little neighborhoods around town, and make a point of revisiting places you haven’t been in a while. You may discover something completely new or perhaps rekindle a fond memory of times past. Either way, you’ll likely be reminded that our community is vibrant, evolving and is not just for our weekend visitors – it’s for us, too!