© 2024 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Helotes Grows In Size, Hopes To Keep Small Town Charm

Brian Kirkpatrick | Texas Public Radio
City hall sign on the side of Bandera Road.

The City of Helotes hopes to hold onto its small town charm despite its rapid growth, according to city officials.  

The city long ago made sure Old Town Helotes, including Floore’s Country Store, was preserved and given historical markers.

For many San Antonians, Helotes was once considered a country drive to hear some live music  and have an ice cold beer at the store.  Bikers made it a day trip destination, and live music is still offered there.  Now modern day Helotes is growing up all around Old Town Helotes.

Credit Brian Kirkpatrick | Texas Public Radio
The main drag of Old Town Helotes with Flores Country Store covered in signs.

Helotes incorporated in 1981 to prevent possible annexation by sprawling San Antonio.

By the 1990s, San Antonio was built up and around the smaller city, according to annexation records from the City of San Antonio.

“In Helotes, you still have that small town feel, but you are still close to the big city.  It’s really important for us to kind of keep the identity of that small town feel,” said the city’s public relations specialist Andrea Wazir.

Helotes hosts 26 city-sponsored events throughout the year that are free for families, a courtesy Wazir believes helps the community keep its small town identity.  

“We do a lot of that in Old Town Helotes to bring people to that area to help brick and mortar stores,” she said.

While the town maintains its quaint characteristics, more subdivisions and fewer pastures are now being seen just off Bandera Road in the Helotes area, including Bricewood, Iron Horse and Los Reyes Canyons.

Credit Brian Kirkpatrick | Texas Public Radio
Helotes city public relations specialist Andrea Wazir working on information for community movie night.

The San Antonio Board of Realtors reports the area is among the hottest housing markets in Bexar County since last year.

According to figures from the city’s economic development.office, the city had a total population of 3,772 in 2000, but doubled in size by 2010 with 7,411 residents.

City data projects Helotes will grow to 10,203 by 2023.

Glenn Goolsby, the assistant director of the city’s economic development office, said part of the effort to keep Helotes’ charm are ordinances to protect properties from the clearcutting of trees by developers.

He said the city wants developers on every parcel to spare 40% of small trees and 60% of heritage trees.

But he said builders often pay hefty mitigation fees to get around the ordinance.

Goolsby said building regulations are also inspired by a traditional Texas farmhouse look, requiring developers to use certain materials in construction, like limestone and metal awnings

Even national chains, like Walmart, are expected to try to blend in with the rest of the town.

Brian Kirkpatrick can be reached at Brian@TPR.org and on Twitter at @TPRBrian.