By Betsy Dolan
Sugar Land residents will have the chance to give their input on a planned $50 million dollar November bond election for four quality of life projects. The public hearing has been scheduled for August 6 during the regularly scheduled City Council meeting.
A citizens’ bond committee made up of more than 100 residents met from March through May to prioritize projects, consider phasing opportunities and evaluate funding. They recently presented their recommendations to the Sugar Land City Council July 16. The measure involves a festival site, a community park, hike and bike trails and Phase 2 of the Brazos River Park.
The planned $5.9 million festival site will be located on 52 acres near U.S. 59 and University behind the University of Houston at Sugar Land campus.
Mary Favre, who chaired the festival portion of the Citizen’s Bond Committee recommendations says several promoters would like to hold large multi-day events in Sugar Land but the city currently doesn’t have a large enough venue.
She cited the 3-year old Hang Out festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama which is estimated to have generated $30 million dollars for the local economy.
“When you are thinking about inviting 30,000 people to a party there are logistics to overcome and we have worked hard on that,” Farve said referring to multiple access points in and out of the festival site as well as ample parking and shuttle capabilities.
The $16.8 million community park will be in Telfair on land at Easton and Chatham. The park will have multipurpose fields that can be used for cricket, lacrosse, rugby, soccer and other sports. A tennis center, playground, pavillion, bocce ball/labyrinth area and trails round out the amenities.
The land contains a cemetery that was part of the Texas Department of Corrections prison farm system. Plans call for $140,000 in preservation work to the cemetery.
Brazos River Park Phase 2
The $13.3 million dollar Phase 2 project will link U.S. 59 to Phase 1 at Sugar Land Memorial Park along 75 acres.
“This is an important component of many different park plans in this region,” said Michael Schiff, former Sugar Land City Councilman and the chairman of the Phase 2 portion of the Citizens’ Bond Committee. “This is the closest thing we have to a wilderness area in Sugar Land and we want to tame it a little but still keep it wild.”
The plans call for open space, trails, a boat house and a lake which would be large enough to accommodate the Dragon boat competition.
Hike & Bike Trails
Almost seven miles of hike and bike trails are being proposed. The $9.1 million dollar plan calls for three different segments: 4.9 miles to build the Ditch H trail that would connect Highway 6 South to Memorial Park, the festival site and the Brazos River Park; a 1 mile trail in First Colony and a 1.5 mile connector trail in the Imperial area.
Bond Election in November
A November election with three propositions is expected to be called on Aug. 20. The festival site and Phase 2 of the Brazos River Park project would be included in the same proposition.
According to the City, the recommended projects represent a maximum 5 cents on the tax rate over five years or a total of $128 for the average Sugar Land homeowner.
Sugar Land’s last bond election was in 1999.