By Betsy Dolan
In 1957, I.H. Kempner, founder of the Imperial Sugar Corporation, was concerned that Houston’s aggressive annexing would jeopardize the future of Sugar Land. He turned to a Presbyterian elder and manager of a dry goods store to become the young city’s first mayor. Fifty-three years later, the Sugar Land City Council that T.E. Harman helped found, unanimously approved the decision to name the city’s new Senior Adult and Community Center, in his honor.
“We’re just so proud of Sugar Land and our history”, said Bridget Yeung, Sugar Land City Council, District 2. “We’re happy that we can name a facility after one of the founding mayors of the city.”
The T.E. Harman Center, 226 Matlage Way, is a $1.1 million dollar reconstruction project currently underway at the Sugar Land Community Center. When finished the 17,000 facility will not only house senior activities but also serve as a community center for the city and will contain an exercise room, full gymnasium, two multi-purpose rooms and patio/garden area. A Community Development Block Grant is being used to fund the project. Completion is set for summer.
Harman was elected the first mayor of Sugar Land in 1959 and served until 1961. He served a second term as mayor from 1965 to 1967. Under Harman’s leadership, Sugar Land formed a City Council, hired city employees, created building, plumbing and electrical codes, created a police force and developed the city’s first comprehensive plan which charted an orderly, planned and systematic development of the city.