During a Jan. 24 Leander Chamber of Commerce meeting, Mayor Chris Fielder said the issues that the city is dealing with are byproducts of its success.
Fielder discussed the state of the city at the chamber luncheon, and he said the city now holds close to 46,500 residents with an average of 13 people moving to Leander each day.
Fielder said the city’s accomplishments in 2016 included the opening of the Randalls grocery store in the Crystal Falls Town Center and the opening of Cold Spring Marketplace on Ronald Reagan Boulevard. Austin Community College also broke ground on its San Gabriel Campus, and St. David’s HealthCare acquired 52 acres of land along Toll 183A for an emergency room and full-service hospital.
Progress on other developments includes residential apartments and neighborhoods. Both the Parking Crossing apartments and Leander Station apartments opened in 2016, as did new subdivisions such as Leander Crossing and Oak Creek.
Leander ISD’s next high school, Tom Glenn High School, also opened last year.
Fielder said Leander voters passed the city’s largest bond package ever in May 2016, and last fall City Council also voted to lower the tax rate for the fourth consecutive year. Bond rating agency Moody, Standard and Poor also upgraded the city’s bond rating from AA3 to AA2 in 2016.
“Cities don’t just do that all at one time, but we did,” Fielder said. “It’s been a great year.”
He said the city also continues to break records: Leander was named the eighth-safest city in Texas by the website SafeWise and named the third-best city to raise a family by Forbes in 2016. The U.S. Census Bureau also named Leander the fastest-growing city in the nation from 2014 to 2015 of all cities with a population over 15,000.
Fielder said residents can expect to see more happening in 2017. St. David’s emergency room is expected to break ground inside Leander’s transportation-oriented district, and the Pedernales Electric Cooperative is looking to build a new operations center along the Toll 183A frontage road. The Old FM 2243 widening is estimated to be completed in the summer, and the city will also start construction on Bagdad Road, Brushy Street, Fire Station No. 4, Pat Bryson Hall and Fire Station No. 1.
Fielder said 2016 was a year of opportunity, but he sees 2017 as a year of promise.
“Leander is a strong, strong, strong city,” he said. “And we thank you guys for being here.”