The City of Huntsville has a rich history of economic growth since its founding in 1835. As one of the oldest cities in Texas, Huntsville retains many natural and historic resources that offer the community a higher quality of life.
Although the community proudly touts its history, it is not stuck in the past. Capitalizing on the historical nature, natural resources and growing art community has helped the city to earn designations as a Texas Main Street City and State Cultural District. It is with these assets and desire from community leaders to grow that Huntsville will continue to experience a positive trend of development for years to come.
As the county seat of Walker County, Huntsville is located in a prime area of the Interstate 45 corridor. The anticipated growth from the Houston and Dallas metropolises offers many opportunities for businesses and industries. Huntsville is 70 miles north of Houston and 170 miles south of Dallas and sits within the Texas Triangle, the area of Texas outlined by the metropolitan areas of Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston. This location provides convenient access to the largest cities in the state all while maintaining a charming sense of community for citizens. National Forest land and Huntsville State Park also share the I-45 corridor with Huntsville and are significant tourist destinations for the southeast Texas region. Many visitors utilize the Bruce Brothers Regional Airport in Huntsville, a general aviation airport with a 5000 runway and full service terminal, to access surrounding communities in Walker County. For visitors that do not have access to small aircraft, George Bush International Airport is just an hour south of Huntsville on the north side of Houston and allows for a picturesque drive into town. The Port of Houston and Port of Galveston are also easy to access from Huntsville by way of the Interstate 45 corridor.
Huntsville’s prime location is not its only asset; it is also home to Sam Houston State University, one of the fastest growing universities in the state. With an enrollment of over 21,000 students, the University has plans in place to expand their enrollment to over 25,000 within the next few years. One of the greatest benefits of having a university in Huntsville is that it helps to provide a continuous pool of talent for the workforce. SHSU is classified as a “Doctoral Research University” by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, placing SHSU in the top seven percent of all U.S. colleges and universities. The Carnegie Commission on Higher Education also classified SHSU as a "Community Engaged" university. This honor was awarded in 2010 to only sixty-one public institutions nationwide and acknowledges the university's significant commitment to serving the community. Several new programs and a steady increase in enrollment will continue to expand the opportunities for an educated workforce for area employers. A new Life Sciences building has recently been constructed and has been serving students' needs since 2018. SHSU is growing fast and continues to contribute to the overall increase in economic activity within Huntsville.
Partnership with the SHSU Small Business Development Center and several departments within the College of Business has helped to assist the City of Huntsville with creating economic development programs for existing businesses and new businesses that are interested in locating to Huntsville. The SHSU SBDC offers business counseling, business planning advice, educational opportunities and access to funding methods for businesses in the community. The City of Huntsville Business Retention and Expansion program works with existing businesses to make sure that local businesses are maximizing available services and are continuing the growth pattern that brought them to Huntsville. Evaluating programs and increasing services to these businesses helps to support the overall health of the city.