Castroville families rally to save its downtown

City is seeking to protect its history, its future from uncontrolled development

Rendering of planned redevelopment of downtown Castroville. (Photo courtesy of SABJ, Alamo Architects)

CASTROVILLE, TexasEditor’s note: This story was published through a partnership between KSAT and the San Antonio Business Journal.

More than 30 families with deep ties to Castroville have formed a group and are pooling funds to create a destination district in the city’s downtown area that embraces the community’s Alsatian roots and architecture and draws more complementary entrepreneurs and visitors before San Antonio’s westward growth engulfs its history.

Those involved in the Castroville Downtown Redevelopment Fund have moved quickly to craft a plan and secure key assets.

“It came together remarkably quickly. I would say within a matter of about less than three months from when we start talking about it,” said Josh Kempf, a former investment banker with Goldman Sachs and one of the group’s founders.

Castroville, which was founded in 1844, is nestled along a bend in the Medina River, roughly 25 miles west of San Antonio. It’s in an area that is experiencing rapid regional population growth and the race for development that follows.

The city’s mayor, Darrin Schroeder, says Castroville has become a “speed bump,” interrupting rapid development to the east and west.

“We have over 30,000 cars a day going through a town of 3,400 people,” he said. “We are the victims of urban sprawl.”

The fund and the redevelopment plan it supports are intended to provide Castroville more control of its future and its identity. It’s already allowed for the purchase of three underutilized buildings in the heart of the district and another is under contract.

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