By KAROLYN GEPHART
The Community and Economic Development Committee (CEDC) reported its work in an annual report presentation to the City Council at the recent July meeting. Their work centers around their mission to actively recruit and retain quality businesses to diversify Friendswood’s tax base.
CEDC had nine members this year including Chair Gary Kay, Vice Chair Marcus Perry, Meg Crowley, Skip Evans, Lorrie Foreman, Pauline Moore, Bill Provenzano, Jennifer Whitley, and Dr. Hilmar Zeissig.
Committee liaisons were Councilmember John Scott, Chamber of Commerce President Carol Marcantel, as well as representatives from Planning and Zoning and Friendswood and Clear Creek ISDs. City staff liaison is Karen Capps.
The committee has several incentive grants they recommended and were approved for economic development in the city.
They recommended and City Council approved a $12,000 economic incentive grant for Rancho Mexican Restaurant to construct a new 5,000 square foot restaurant at 2131 W. Parkwood Avenue on a 1.2 acre pad site at the Fountains of Friendswood.
City Council also approved a $100,000 economic incentive grant for Tannos Land Holdings III to construct a new four-story, 63,400 square foot building at 505 South Friendswood Drive.
In February of this year, the committee reviewed and discussed a map of undeveloped properties in the city to have a better understanding of ownership, zoning, location, and availability of utilities at or near the sites.
In May, the committee also discussed public relations and awareness regarding economic development and asked staff to provide a general site criteria requirements to help provide business leads to the City Economic Developer.
During the last year, the committee discussed goals and asked the Economic Developer to provide information and analyses regarding the City’s economic development efforts which included target markets, business recruitment and retention, marketing, data collection, research, incentives, tax and regulatory environment, real estate inventory, demographics, and participation at tradeshows.
As a result of these presentations, committee members decided that in order to support the City’s overall efforts, members began attending Chamber ribbon-cutting events, and will refer business owners within their network or circle of influence to relocate their business to the city.
Over the next year, the CEDC will add two new committee members as well as review municipal grant applications, proposed ordinance changes, policies, and goals that will assist the City in furthering economic development and making Friendswood an economically viable place to live and work, according to Capps.