By Elsa Maxey
The less than 1,000-resident city of Kendleton, notoriously alleged to have a highway speed trap on US 59 in the recent past, is seeking federal grant funds with the help of the county. Jointly, both entities intend to develop infrastructure that includes road development, drainage, and the extension of water and sewer lines. This project is expected to begin in September to encourage business development in what is currently an area with farm land, also considered to be economically distressed.
At the last Fort Bend County Commissioners Court meeting this month, the authorization to proceed with document filing to go to the Economic Development Administration passed with Commissioner Richard Morrison making the motion. It included the okay to have the county contribute $1,850,000 out of its 2007 mobility bonds, plus in-kind work to come from the Road and Bridge Department. The project amount with the federal grant assistance totals $3,100,000.
Earlier in the month, however, Commissioners Morrison and Andy Meyers, who also voted in favor of the Kendleton infrastructure project, objected to the use of county mobility funds to build a small access road needed for public safety in another part of Fort Bend County. Morrison told the “Star” that the project at hand, known as the City of Kendleton Industrial and Business Development which in his precinct, does not come with any assurance the farmers’ land will be sold and developed as commercial property. In other words, there’s no developer. Morrison maintains that the access road previously approved by commissioners court could have been built by the developer unlike the Kendleton infrastructure intended to provide access and spur interest in that area.
Commissioner Patterson, on the other hand, expressed concern over the county’s assistance on the Kendleton project. The farm land in the community is presumably expected to sell as commercial property with the road access which in turn will allow for county pay back, he said. But, the farmers may choose not to sell. In any event, “tri-party agents,” he said could have been the case and could have included LCISD (Lamar Consolidated ISD) as a partner presumably to also benefit in the future. An exchange between Commissioners Patterson and Meyers ensued with Patterson pointing out that Meyers supports this project, yet he voted against the other one earlier in the month, the one with a developer on record, which more readily allows for county payback.
The city’s infrastructure project in Kendleton includes transit priorities relating to road developments from U S Highway 59 to Pink Taylor Road, the extensions of King Road to Tavener Road, Braxton Road to Tavener Road & bridge, Tavener Road to FM 2919 (Northeast to Southwest), and Second Street to FM 2919. According to the background information on the project prepared by Michael Gutierrez of Commissioner Morrison’s office, the roads will be concrete with specs to accommodate large/heavy vehicles.
Kendleton and its surrounding communities of Wharton, Beasley, Needville, Hungerford, Boling, Rosenberg and Richmond are expected to be favorably impacted by the project, which will also bring new jobs to the area.
Kendleton established an Economic Development Council headed by Mike Flory, who is working on enhancing the city’s business relationships with potential companies and investors. The city has also developed a strong working relationship with the Fort Bend County Economic Development Council.