Sugar Land to address 2016 accomplishments, vision for the future
Sugar Land will partner with the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce to present a State of the City Address focusing on the City’s 2016 accomplishments.
This is the ninth year that the City has presented an annual summary of activities to citizens. The community is invited to attend the program to be held Jan. 19 at the Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land, 18111 Lexington Blvd. A breakfast buffet will be served from 7-8 a.m., and a presentation of 2016 Sugar Land achievements will follow from Mayor Joe Zimmerman and City Manager Allen Bogard.
Some of the highlights include:
• Substantial completion of the plaza and the Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land occurred in 2016. The Smart Financial Centre will be capable of hosting a wide range of performances, including national music and comedy artists, theatrical and family entertainment, as well as cultural and performing arts attractions. The project is expected to spur additional commercial and retail growth that will further establish Sugar Land as one of the strongest economies in the region. No general fund tax dollars were spent on the plaza or the Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land, which is projected to provide an annual benefit to the community of $26.1 million over 30 years.
• The city purchased the 259-acre Central Unit prison site. The property is largely north of U.S. Highway 90A and west of the Sugar Land Regional Airport. The city intends to use the land for three purposes: a light industrial business park, a public safety training center and improvements to the Sugar Land Regional Airport, including a point of entry on the western side. The development of a light industrial business park is important for the creation and retention of primary jobs in the fields of manufacturing, research and development and corporate operations. Nearly half of the funds for the acquisition will be provided through a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration.
• Sugar Land annexed the 754-acre Cullinan Park after signing historic agreements with the Cullinan Park Conservancy, the city of Houston and the Houston Parks Board. Future development of the property has long been targeted by the community and is consistent with the conservancy’s efforts to preserve the vast natural resources of the park. The City now operates and maintains the park, which includes enhanced security; trail cleanup; lawn maintenance; and new lighting systems, signage and entry gates. Future planned improvements include trails and boardwalks that allow greater access to existing lakes and wetlands areas, as well as locations for canoe and kayak launches into Oyster Creek.
• Sugar Land approved a plan for the redevelopment of the historical Imperial Sugar refinery site. Known as the Imperial Market, the 850,000-square-foot, mixed-use lifestyle center will be the centerpiece of a new 720-acre master planned community known as Imperial. Imperial Market will be comprised of 258,000 square feet of upscale retail and restaurant space, 100,000 square feet of “A” quality office space, a luxury residential complex and a high-end boutique hotel. In addition, the Houston Children’s Museum has chosen Imperial Market as the new home of the Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center. The Sugar Land Heritage Foundation will also locate at the site and is partnering with the City to construct a museum documenting all aspects of Sugar Land’s heritage.
Priorities during 2017 will include the annexation of Greatwood and New Territory on Dec. 12; a focus on tourism and commercial sources to reduce property taxes, an effort that funds a high level of services for taxpayers while maintaining one of the state’s lowest property tax rates; preservation and celebration of Sugar Land’s history, such as efforts to create a museum that will include a diversity of exhibits documenting the contributions of all members of the community; and continued work to update Sugar Land’s Land Use Plan, a document that guides development within the city.
Register for the State of the City Address at www.fortbendchamber.com.