By Karen Daniels
Last week’s Stafford City Council meeting began with a moment of silence in honor of Beverly Carter, publisher of the “Fort Bend Star”. Mayor Leonard Scarcella and Bev Carter go back 35 years. He said Bev was, “someone who inspired people with her sincere reporting of the news, unabashed.” The Mayor shared a story about the City’s struggle to start their own school district. Bev Carter started the paper when SMSD was getting “heavy traction” and going before the federal courts. “Bev Carter stood with Stafford” and without her support “SMSD would have had an even tougher time.” He named her as a personal, professional, sincere friend and encouraged the public to attend her memorial at the Stafford Civic Center, July 20 at 10:30 a.m..
The day before the City Council meeting, at the Planning & Zoning meeting, City Engineer, Charles Russell, brought before Council the “Comprehensive Plan”, the City’s blueprint that was originally written in 1971. At that time, the population of Stafford was 2,901, and 80% of land was vacant, unlike today where almost 90% of the land is now occupied. Mr. Russell made the request that the comprehensive plan be updated. The City’s attorney, Art Pertile, said that “it’s time to start thinking about redevelopment” and now is the time to make this request since the City’s budget will be submitted at the end of August. Also with this request was the suggestion to hire a consultant to work strictly on the T.I. property redevelopment and to put together a Citizens’ Advisory Committee to assist with the new Comprehensive Plan. This passed unanimously by the P&Z Commission to move on to City Council.
At the City Council meeting this recommendation was discussed and several board members offered their opinions. Councilman Wen Guerra said, “We have to embrace not only the recommendations of our staff, the economic development plan, but bring in the population that’s part of this city.” Robert Sorbet said in reference to hiring a consultant that there be “clearly defined goals” established. Several times at both the Planning and Zoning Commission and the City Council meetings, the company, Street Level Investments, was mentioned as the one to purchase the Texas Instruments property. Mayor Scarcella said, “Based on my discussions with (Street Level) and (their) associates earlier this week, their deal with TI will likely be closed by the end of October.” Council continued this discussion in executive session.