By Betsy Dolan
Coming off a year that saw recording setting attendance at Constellation Field, $221 million in new capital investments, plans to build a performing arts center and several key mobility and sidewalk improvements, officials say the city of Sugar Land is poised to undergo even more growth in 2013.
Over 800 of the city’s business and community leaders gathered at the Sugar Land Marriott Hotel and Conference Center on January 18 for Sugar Land’s fifth annual State of the City address. The event, in conjunction with the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce, served to call attention to the city’s 2012 accomplishments and reveal what is ahead in 2013.
2012 in Review
Several Fortune 500 firms, including Costco, Texas Instruments, Fluor Corporation, Schlumberger and OptumRx decided to move or expand their operations in Sugar Land. The projects will result in more than $221 million in new capital investment and 1,000 new jobs.
Constellation Field and the Sugar Land Skeeters set an Atlantic League attendance record of 465,511 during their inaugural season.
The Sugar Land Regional Airport is now the fourth largest airport in the Houston area with 250 takeoffs and landings every day.
Mobility improvements were also a focal point in 2012. The city started a large-scale sidewalk rehabilitation project that will be completed in 2013. In addition, Sugar Land became the first city in the Houston area to install flashing yellow left turn arrows to improve intersection efficiency. The city also installed wayfinding signs to allow tourists and visitors to more easily find destinations in the City.
Sugar Land Police established a task force to help combat increased residential burglaries. The department also cross trained several employees to respond to large-scale events, crime “hot spots” and to work with the Internet Crimes Against Children task force. Sugar Land police responded to 93% of the most serious emergency calls in less than seven minutes; 89% in less than five minutes.
The city’s new recycling program has diverted 31% of waste from landfills since December 2011–a 210% increase over the old program.
The 11,000 square foot T.E. Harman Center opened for senior adult activities and community events.
Looking ahead in 2013
Mayor James Thompson announced plans to create a Citizen’s Bond Committee that will put together a $50 million dollar bond referendum for November. The measure will help pay for four quality of life projects: festival site, hiking/biking trails, Telfair community park and development of a Brazos River recreational area.
In addition, the city will move forward on design plans for a performing arts center which will be located near the intersection of U.S. 59 and University Boulevard in Telfair.
There are plans to establish a Sugar Land Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.
The City will also continue to move forward on developing the Imperial Sugar refinery site and is expected to open its $69 million dollar surface water treatment plant this summer.
In addition, adopting an updated Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan is expected this summer.