During the luncheon March 8, City Manager Gayle Cook and Mayor Thom Kolupski spoke on several developments within the city.
For one, the expansion of Hwy. 146, which began four years ago, is nearing completion. The contractor has a planned substantial completion date of December, Kolupski said.
“It’s been a long grind, but we see the end in sight,” he said. “It looks like it’s coming to a close, thank God.”
The expansion project, which resulted in several businesses along Hwy. 146 having to close or relocate due to proximity to construction, adds lanes to Hwy. 146 along with an additional expressway bridge for traffic to bypass Seabrook. The project aims to reduce congestion and make the road more viable as an emergency escape route during hurricanes.
After the project is done, however, another Hwy. 146 expansion project will occur farther north, starting at Red Bluff Road, Cook said.
“It’s another construction projection, but when this is all done, we’ve got some great connectivity,” she said.
Additionally, the development that will bring Margaritaville to Seabrook is still moving forward. The development will include four restaurants on Clear Lake, two hotels, a convention center, luxury apartments, and a 700-vehicle parking garage podium, Kolupski said.
“We can’t wait for that to get started,” he said.
Likewise, officials said they are excited for The Edge. The project near the roundabout at Repsdorph Road and Lakeside Drive will include 320 apartments, 10,000 square feet of retail space and a central lawn, Kolupski said.
“That’ll be a huge project and very needed for the city,” he said.
According to surveys of residents the city conducts, residents most desire a new grocery store. While the city has spoken to grocery store businesses and has not had much luck attracting one to Seabrook so far, it is still a focus for city officials, Kolupski said.
In addition, the city wants to install new signs around the city to guide residents due to how Hwy. 146’s construction has changed some of the city’s layout, Kolupski said.
Last year, the city had fewer than 100 employees, but now it has about 120. The city’s growth means staff has grown, Kolupski said.
As such, city employees have outgrown City Hall, which today houses the police department and courts. The city is in the process of relocating the police department and courts to a piece of land the city owns near Repsdorph and Lakeside to give employees more room, Kolupski said.
Once the police department and courts move, City Hall will be expanded and remodeled. Additionally, the emergency medical services department has outgrown its facility, so the city is looking into a new ambulance and EMS facility, Kolupski said.
Overall, city officials expressed pride in how Seabrook is developing. Since 2019, sales tax revenue is up 27% despite the Hwy. 146 construction and COVID-19 pandemic, which indicates people want to be in Seabrook, Kolupski said.
“The city of Seabrook is in good shape,” he said.