8 things in Sugar Land & Missouri City to look for in 2017

Construction continues on the new Houston Community College campus located on Texas Parkway in Missouri City.

Construction continues on the new Houston Community College campus located on Texas Parkway in Missouri City.

1. Land scarce as Sugar Land, Missouri City  populations boom

2. Texas Parkway redevelopment in Missouri City

What we reported Updating of the city’s comprehensive plan began in February with a public symposium. The goal was to identify potential projects that encourage a variety of land uses, manage city growth, enhance parks and recreation as well as address mobility needs.

The latest Three business parks and a new campus for Houston Community College are driving development in Missouri City’s few underdeveloped areas. While the city’s major thoroughfares and new housing developments are helping to foster economic growth, industrial projects are the city’s fastest-growing sector, officials said.

What’s next The City Council is optimistic the new HCC campus will draw significant new retail businesses to Texas Parkway when it opens this fall.  Meanwhile the county’s remodeling of the Missouri City library should also bolster those efforts.

New tourism revenue Sugar Land is primed to benefit from expansion of tourism in the city, with the Smart Financial Centre opening in January[/caption]

3. New tourism revenue

What we reported Sugar Land is primed to benefit from expansion of tourism in the city, with the Smart Financial Centre opening in January and work continuing on the Brazos River Park and festival site. The venue is owned by the city and sits on 38.5 acres near the intersection of Hwy. 59 and University Boulevard. The park is a $12.37 million project on 76 acres with the festival site taking another 52 acres along Hwy. 59. The projects are a part of the city’s $31.5 million parks bond package approved by voters in November 2013.

The latest The $84 million, state-of-the-art Smart Financial Centre has announced performers for its grand opening weekend. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld will headline Jan. 14, and classic rock singer Don Henley will perform Jan. 15.

What’s next The venue is expected to generate $26.1 million yearly in annual community benefits, which includes spending in and out of the venue, indirect spending and induced spending, according to Jennifer May, executive director of business and government affairs for the city of Sugar Land.

4. Fort Bend ISD sets legislative priorities

What we reported The Fort Bend ISD board of trustees has called on the state Legislature to implement a number of changes, such as overhauling the school funding system, reducing standardized testing in schools, and providing the funds necessary to comply with state mandates.

The latest With the Texas Legislature slated to meet in January, FBISD is gearing up to monitor developments and implement previously approved initiatives like school cameras in the classroom.

What’s next  The district has received seven requests to install cameras in special education classrooms after Senate Bill 507 required schools to honor such requests from parents, Chief Financial Officer Steve Bassett said. Money to install those cameras and maintain them will be a new expense. This year will see the district continue its pursuit of attaining status as a District of Innovation, a state designation affording a school district more local control in certain policymaking areas. 

5. Elections of public officials

What we reported In 2016, Sugar Land got a new mayor when voters elected Joe Zimmerman the city’s 10th mayor. Sugar Land City Council Member Himesh Gandhi was elected mayor pro tem, and Mary Joyce was elected to her first term on the council. Missouri City re-elected Mayor Allen Owen. On the FBISD board of trustees, Jim Rice and Dave Rosenthal were re-elected to position 3 and position 7, respectively. Council members for Sugar Land and Missouri City serve two-year terms, while FBISD trustees serve three-year terms.

The latest A total of seven city council seats in Sugar Land and Missouri City will be up for grabs in 2017, as well as three positions on the FBISD board of trustees.

What’s next In Sugar Land, city council seats up for grabs include District 2, held by Bridget Yeung; District 3, held by Amy Mitchell; and District 4, held by Harish Jajoo.

City Council seats up for grabs in Missouri City include District A, held by Yolanda Ford; District B, held by Don Smith; District C, held by Anthony Maroulis; and District D, held by Floyd Emery.

On the Fort Bend ISD board of trustees, there are three board seats up for grabs in May: Position 1, held by  Jason Burdine; Position 4, held by board President Kristin Tassin; and Position 5, held by K.P. George. 

Missouri City and infrastructure projects Glenn Lake Bridge will be rebuilt, with partial funding coming from the Fort Bend County Mobility Bond Program.[/caption]

6. Missouri City and infrastructure projects

What we reported After he was re-elected May 7, Mayor Owen said the city’s major issue for the next five years will be updating the aging infrastructure of the city’s older sections.

The latest The city will continue to update its comprehensive plan, a vision document that establishes the development priorities during the next 20-plus years. It focuses on four areas: Texas Parkway, Cartwright Road, FM 1092 and Fort Bend Parkway.

What’s next Missouri City is set to upgrade its infrastructure with a number of projects scheduled for 2017. Glenn Lakes Bridge, which spans Oyster Creek, will be rebuilt with half the funding coming from the Fort Bend County Mobility Bond Program. In addition, the city will rebuild parts of Ashmont and Adams streets. Meanwhile Trammel Fresno Road will be widened from two to four lanes and will be divided by a median. The Texas Department of Transportation is overseeing the project.   

7. Hospital expansions at 2 area facilities

What we reported Health care facilities have needed to expand to keep up with the county’s boom in population, and the area has seen a number of large and small health care-related building projects.

The latest Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital opened a new 155,000-square-foot facility near the intersection of the Grand Parkway and Hwy. 59 in September. The six-story tower cost $93 million, and the project includes renovations to the existing campus.

What's next Houston Methodist selected Vaughn Construction as the construction manager-at-risk for its $66 million South Tower expansion and renovation project at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital. The project includes plans to build a three-story tower that will add 81,800 square feet, and will house a breast center, cesarean section rooms, a neonatal intensive care unit, nurseries, and a gynecology unit. The hospital is also renovating nearly 60,000 square feet inside of its Sweetwater Pavilion. Construction is expected to be completed by June 2018.

8. Property tax reform

What we reported Property owners could see their property tax bills increase at a slower rate in coming years if a bill prefiled Nov. 29 by state Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, becomes law. The Property Tax Reform and Relief Act of 2017, a major component of Bettencourt’s bill, requires that tax increases of 4 percent or higher be approved by voters. The bill also requires that an advisory board be created within the Texas Comptroller’s office that would oversee administration of the entire property tax process.

The latest The bill is expected to be widely debated, as the Texas Municipal League, an association that consists of 1,150 cities, called the proposal a “direct assault on public safety, economic development and transportation that will produce no noticeable tax reduction for homeowners.”

What’s next Missouri City will work with a newly hired consultant to discuss any measures that would have a direct impact on Missouri City.