By Joe Southern
Mayor Allen Owen likes to show off the Show Me City and did so April 26 during the annual Missouri City State of the City address.
“I’m proud to say that 2016 was another great year for the Show Me City,” he said.
Hosted by the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce at City Centre at Quail Valley, more than 200 people attended the luncheon where Owen presented highlights and accomplishments in the city for the past year. Throughout his hour-long speech, Owen was quick to praise city officials and staff for their hard work. After showing a video presentation promoting the city, Owen began his address by talking about economics.
“Our bond rating remains AA and we’re ranked one of 2017s best cities to build a forever home recently by Vichomes, an online publication,” he said.
“On the economic development front, we’re still one of the best locations to open and build a business,” he said. “Missouri City is home to dozens of profitable small, midsized and large companies – companies that do business domestically and internationally that earn revenues ranging from thousands of dollars to billions of dollars.”
He talked about the success of the city’s newest business parks.
“The Lakeview Business Park and the Beltway Crossing Complex continue to thrive and be one of our most successful endeavors. And our new Park 8Ninety business park, also developed by Trammell Crow, has prime space available. Once built out and complete, Park 8Ninety is projected to encompass 1.8 million square feet of space,” he said.”
Another business that opened during the fiscal year was our Fed Ex ground shipping station that’s over off of (Hwy.) 90A and Beltway 8. We’re proud to say this project was done with no public incentive and it brought 350 new jobs,” Owen said.
Touting two of the city’s largest employers, he bragged about the lunch served at the event.
“The meal you had today was prepared by our own people, in house, with food that came from Ben E. Keith, the water came from Niagara … so we’re shopping locally,” he said.
He said the food distribution company Ben E. Keith has 419 employees, representing 163 additional employees since they opened in 2013.
“Another major business partner is Niagara Water. … They currently have 165 fulltime employees. Last year they produced 1.3 billion – with a B – bottles of water in that plant,” he said.
When talking about population growth, Owen discussed the growth in Sienna Plantation, a master planned community in the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction.
“Sienna Plantation, which is one of the nation’s top ranked master planned communities, has added more than 7,000 housing units with more than 18,000 build-out capacity,” he said. “It’s important for us in this council and our city management to watch because Sienna’s forecasted to increase the area’s population substantially due to continued growth and quality of housing, good schools, good deed restrictions, solid development agreements and good management.”
Owen also discussed retail growth along Highway 6 as well as the redevelopment of one of the city’s main corridors.
“I want to talk about another special growth sector, the Texas Parkway/Cartwright corridor, which is where our city hall is located. There is a resurgence of development activity there with HCC’s (Houston Community College) Center for Entrepreneurship, Technology and Health that’s relocating to the Missouri City Houston Community College campus that represents an investment of over $40 million,” he said.
Along with that, Fort bend County is remodeling the Fort Bend Library nearby to a three-story building to help accommodate the college.
City Hall next door is also getting revamped.
“Our consultants are going to re-brand and redevelop our city hall campus for multi-purpose events, courtyard and a visitor’s center,” he said.
On the side of city services, Owen made note that the city is about to approve updates to its comprehensive plan – a long-range planning tool – as well as the city’s economic development comprehensive plan. He touted improvements made with the police and fire departments as well as the courts and the parks and recreation department.
He made special note of the $50,000 grant from the Lowes Foundation to replace playground equipment in the Quail Valley North subdivision that burned by arson.
He also talked about the financial turnaround of the Quail Valley Golf Course. He said there were 60,563 rounds of golf, 145 golf tournaments and 311 non-golf events held there in 2016.
“We actually made money out of this facility this year,” he said.
Owen noted that the city saw a 14 percent increase in property value, which will boost city coffers and help cover the cost of needed improvements around the city.
“The city is 60 years old and so are the streets and so are the sidewalks,” he said.
He concluded his talk by singing the praises of City Manager Anthony Snipes, who recently marked his first anniversary with Missouri City. Among the many accomplishments he highlighted were the refinancing of $79.6 million in debts that saved the city $10 million in interest, creating a nonprofit foundation for parks and recreation and helping the city become a top finalist for the All American City award.