Officials celebrate accomplishments, look to future at League City State of the City address

Since implementing its strategic plan last year, League City has made headway on several goals and will accomplish more before the end of the year, officials said at the annual State of the City address March 8.

The city’s strategic action plan includes eight success factors: developing and maintaining infrastructure, being financially sustainable, making the community safe and desirable, building quality amenities, having a committed and valued workforce, engaging residents, promoting economic development and tourism, and having a quality-built environment.

The city recently approved its Master Mobility Plan, which outlines proposed traffic projects to alleviate congestion. Several of those projects are included in a proposed $72 million bond going before voters May 4. The city also completed $17 million worth of infrastructure projects since last year, Director of Engineering Chris Sims said.

The city’s financial rate has increased, which lowers interest rates when issuing debt. The city’s property tax rate was decreased slightly for the existing budget, Budget and Project Management Director Angie Steelman said.

League City Fire Department Chief Gary Warren said the department now has a full day and night crew that resides at the station to help decrease response times. As part of a recruitment campaign, the department last year saw the highest number of new recruits in years to help staff a department whose volunteer numbers had remained largely flat over several years, Warren said.

“We have high hopes for this year and the people we bring in,” Warren said.

Director of Parks and Cultural Services Chien Wei said his department has updated fee requirements for developers to ensure park land continues to grow in the city. The city also recently broke ground on a new animal shelter to replace the cramped one that exists now.

Sarah Greer Osborne, director of communications and media relations, said the city has launched an electronic employee newsletter so staff can be more engaged with residents, departments and other employees. The city also has a new, easier-to-navigate website for residents to use.

Economic Development Director Scott Livingston said new retail, hotel and shopping opportunities are on their way to League City. Director of Planning and Development David Hoover said hubs such as Pinnacle Park have seen new restaurants and medical facilities continue to pop up.

Finally, Hoover spoke about new raised-elevation requirements for building new developments and revisions made to drainage requirements, sizes of detention and other drainage-related concerns to help mitigate flooding.

But moving forward, the city expects to accomplish more, City Manager John Baumgartner said.

Expanding Landing Boulevard to the north is a project the city wants environmentally cleared by May and under construction within two years. The project would make more north-south connections to help alleviate traffic congestion.

The Grand Parkway project has been stalled, but officials have been pushing to start work back up in the Bay Area. The city has included some funding for the project in the proposed bond going before voters in May. 

League City is only halfway built out, and it is important to fix drainage before the city expands.

“We’re going to build 30,000 more homes before the community’s complete,” Baumgartner said.

The city does not want to see 8,000 of those new homes flood in addition to the 8,000 that flooded during Hurricane Harvey if another catastrophic storm hits, he said.

The city is working with the Army Corps of Engineers, the Harris County Flood Control District and other entities to come up with regional solutions to flooding that are outside the city’s scope and budget, Baumgartner said.

“I think we’re making progress,” he said.

With new growth comes a need for water. The city should have a commitment from Houston within a couple months to supply League City with water, but the deal will be costly, Baumgartner said.

In all, officials lauded League City’s progress and potential for additional growth and success.

“League City is the best place to live, work and play,” Baumgartner said. “We want to keep it that way.”
By Jake Magee
Jake Magee has been a print journalist for several years, covering numerous beats including city government, education, business and more. Starting off at a daily newspaper in southern Wisconsin, Magee covered two small cities before being promoted to covering city government in the heart of newspaper's coverage area. He moved to Houston in mid-2018 to be the editor for and launch the Bay Area edition of Community Impact Newspaper.

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