To become a “destination city,” Pearland’s to-do list includes pursuing museums, art, entertainment and nightlift, Mayor Tom Reid said in his annual State of the City address last Thursday at First Church of Pearland.
In a lively speech being re-broadcast on Pearland TV (Comcast Channel 16), Reid said his formerly small town that was once far from Houston sprawl is now faced with the challenges of a fast-growing city – and quickly becoming a “cosmopolitan suburb” well positioned in the metro area.
“Our rapid growth challenges us to continue strong management policies and controls to maintain fiscal stability and quality services with the lowest tax rate,” he said.
Hosted by the Pearland Chamber of Commerce, the address was a first in that the city hosted a live Twitter feed during the speech for viewers and residents to provide feedback. The sold out audience made it the largest attended State of the City address in Chamber history.
On Reid’s priority list for the city is improving mobility: Continuing to work on street and traffic needs, as well as multiple transportation solutions for Pearland.
Commercial development highlights for the city over the past year include the Center at Pearland Parkway next to the new H-E-B at FM 518, the 92,000-square-foot Merit Medical Systems manufacturing facility on Kirby Drive and the 26-acre MHI Compressor International office and manufacturing site. One of the mayor’s goals for the coming year is diversifying the city’s tax base to include a mix of residential, office, retail and industrial developments. Currently, about 79 percent of Pearland’s property taxable value is from residential uses.
Reid gave recognition during his speech to City Manager Clay Pearson, who joined the staff last year after relocating from Michigan.
“If you take a pear from Pearland and add a son of Pearland, you have Pearson – which makes him a ‘pearfect’ pick as our city manager,” Reid said.
He also praised city staff earning awards over the past year, including the Fire Marshal’s Office, Finance, Communications, Community Development and Parks & Recreation departments.
“We have a first class staff and because they are the cream of the crop, they are continually recognized for their efforts,” he said.