Thanks in part to a $100,000 donation from the Lanier Law Firm, the Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce has raised $350,000 for its Grow Northwest initiative. Additionally the chamber continues to seek new avenues for funding the campaign through a bill that would allow utility districts to help fund the program.
The Lanier Law Firm announced the $100,001 contribution to the chamber at a public forum April 30 where the chamber presented the plan to dozens of community leaders.
“Most [people come to the region] for the quality of life initiatives, for the economic development or because of concerned, caring individuals like yourselves,” said Kevin Roberts, executive director for the law firm. “We have many things because of individuals like yourselves. We want to not only talk the talk. We also want to put some substance behind it.”
The Houston Northwest Medical Center also donated $100,000 to the improvement plan last year, according to chamber officials.
Not depending solely on donations to fund the plan, chamber president Barbara Thomason said the chamber supports House Bill 2528, which could provide funding for Grow Northwest.
“We need your help to grow this community with you and for you, for your kids [and] your businesses.”
—Shah Ardalan, president of Lone Star College-University Park
The bill, filed by State Rep. Patricia Harless, R-Spring, on March 6, would allow municipal utility districts to place a checkoff box on water bills of residents that would allow them to fund economic development projects such as Grow Northwest.
The bill has passed out of the Natural Resources Committee and was placed on the Local, Consent and Resolutions Calendar on May 5.
“We’re hoping it will move on over to the Senate,” Thomason said. “But we’re quite excited about the possibility [of the legislation].”
The Grow Northwest initiative requires $3.14 million over four years to fund improvements in three areas: economic development, safety and security and community branding.
Thomason said the chamber could soon implement improvements in branding with monument and street signs. The chamber has entered into a contract with DG Studios and sought input at the April 30 forum regarding the signage.
Shah Ardalan, president of Lone Star College-University Park and chamber chairman, said the improvements could help address growth.
“This is a growing community,” Ardalan said. “We need your help to grow this community with you and for you, for your kids [and] your businesses.”