Published in TB Business Magazine
Written by: Alexis Harborth / Photos by: Dustin Ashcraft
Location: Art Museum of South Texas
A key ingredient in the Downtown Management District’s recipe for success is grit. Alyssa Barrera Mason has been the executive director of the Downtown Management District since 2018—and as a certified local who was born and raised in Corpus Christi, there is no better person suited for the job.
“I have such a drive for improving downtown,” said Mason, “and passion for our community.” These sentiments are easily felt as she speaks about her talented, dedicated team and the initiatives they execute.
“We just created a new five-year strategic plan,” said Mason. “I built it with my team, and we’re committed to seeing it through. We took ownership over every goal, every strategy, every objective in the plan.”
The plans include robust placemaking, which refers to designing and creating value in right-of-ways and public spaces, as well as streetscape plans.
“We are doing a streetscape plan for Water Street. It aims to increase the street canopy from 3% to 67%, and provide onsite stormwater retention to help mitigate flooding in the downtown area,” said Mason.
A downtown living initiative provides an incentive for developers in an attempt to attract more professionals and offices, and downtown offers 4 million square feet of office space. There are plans to cultivate more retail and build a significant food ecosystem, which envisions a place where small businesses are incubated, such as bars with food halls or pop-ups.
“We want to help local makers and creators showcase the unique things that they have, which brings value to our community and helps define our culture,” said Mason.
She and her team come at projects with a sense of urgency, eager to get tomorrow’s work done today.
“Tenacity is a big skill and gift that everyone on our team has,” said Mason. “Because we want to make it happen—we don’t want to be on the cusp, we want to do it. We have ideas that we’re trying to do now versus over the next 10 years. By doing it today, we can move the next 10 years so much further forward to something we haven’t even envisioned yet.”
Much of the drive and passion to serve her city that Mason pours into her position come from the support and inspiration of her family, which includes her husband and parents.
“It’s more than fulfilling,” she said. “It’s all for the community that we’ve been in for our entire lives.”