Mayor, City Manager Want Improved Streets, More Housing to Position San Angelo for Continued Growth
SAN ANGELO, TX — San Angelo Mayor Brenda Gunter and City Manger Daniel Valenzuela gave their state of the city address to the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce Tuesday.
On October 8, the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce hosted the 2019 Business Expo at the McNease Convention Center. The Center was packed with businesses of all types from around town, including Republic Services, Bug Express, San Angelo Community Medical Center and Shannon Medical Center.
After the lunch portion was complete, Chamber President Bruce Partain welcomed the crowd and led the pledges. Chairman of the Board Sheryl Pfluger then introduced the sponsors.
City Manager Daniel Valenzuela started by addressing the the main problems most citizens have with the city. This being streets, drainage, waste and drinking water.
To start, the city is in the fifth year in an eight year plan to sealcoat all of the streets within the city limits. The next two years of the project were focused on north San Angelo and Lake Nasworthy. Also the city is in the fourth year of a 10-year project that will be a complete reconstruction of the major roads in San Angelo. The city has already finished areas of MLK blvd., Southland Blvd., Concho Ave., and College Hills Blvd. The $22 million Bell Street reconstruction is also well underway and should be completed March 2021.
Another project the city faces is the drainage problem that occurs on College Hills Blvd. Valenzuela said the main thing that is stopping the drainage from being fixed is that the only way to fix it is to raise the road. This will cost the city millions and would only solve one of many drainage problems throughout the Red Arroyo drainage plain. With Valenzuela's "Master Plan" the city will make multiple projects into one.
"Instead of spending 14 to 18 million dollars on that one Boulevard," said Valenvuela. "We are trying to deal with all these areas that have flooding concerns."
The final project Valenzuela presented was what to do with drinking and waste water. The City's plan is to make it one in the same. The plan is to get treated waste water, dump it into the Concho River, pick it up in seven miles, treat it again, test it, and then use that water as clean drinking water after it is processed in the existing water treatment plant. The project is called the Concho River Water Supply Project. The City claims it will produce 7.5 million gallons per day. The City consumes up to 15 million gallons per day.
Valenzuela finished by highlighting improvements made in the San Angelo Fire, EMS, and Police Department. The Police Department has added 10 new officers, new cameras for officers' vehicles and new body cams, as well as a new loyalty program inteneded to retain police officers longer. The Police Department's Crime Lab also provided numbers that showed crime rate was a 10% decrease in 2018 and so far this year crime was at a 4% decrease. For Fire and EMS, the city added another ambulance at the new Fire Station #4 and has added an extra ambulance on call during "peak" hours.
Mayor Brenda Gunter then took the stage and went right into housing. Last year the city had a 7.3% increase in the sales tax dollars and put $53 million worth of new property tax into the property tax rolls. The Mayor understands that this is not all residential but is fine with that. "Many people would say if you grow commercially you will lose quality of life in the city," said Gunter. "I say without it you will lose the quality of life." The Mayor's plan to grow the city is through economic development to get people out of the minimum wage and into a "greater quality of life." To do that, it requires commercial and industrial development, she said.
The city has approved that by the year 2020-2021 more than 700 new apartments will be opened throughout San Angelo. So far one complex is being built in the Bentwood area and another complex is being placed near Goodfellow Air Force Base. The City also supports the House Builders Association whose members are building houses in the $100,000 - $150,000 or in "economic sensitive areas." Gunter strongly believes that in order to grow economically, housing is a must.
"In order for businesses to bring their companies to San Angelo we have to have a work force," Said Gunter. "You can't hire people or bring people to the city if you don't have housing."
Planes! Trains! and Automobiles! strategy is another way Gunter said she is pushing San Angelo to grow. Around a month ago, the city snagged around 183 acres of land and plans to open a rail port. Multiple businesses have now came forward and are planning to use the railroad. The San Angelo Regional Airport at Mathis Field's development is still in the works with the "Airport Master Plan" pending completion. As for automobiles, Gunter said she fronts the fight to get the bill passed to get the new Interstate 27 that will go through San Angelo.
Other remarks by the mayor included announcements of the addition to recreational spots such as the new sports complex that is being built on College Hills Blvd. and the Spring Creek Marina at Lake Nasworthy. The biggest project was the improvements that are being made to the public golf course called Quick Sand on the northeast side of the City. The course is adding another nine holes, totaling 27, improving the clubhouse, and also adding a large hotel on the course. The final announcement was about four new signs that will be built in the entrances in the city welcoming travelers to San Angelo.
The Mayor finished her address by talking about something that will be coming up on the next ballot. The Lake Nasworthy Sewer Project is a $32 million project that will replace the sewer trunk main that is located in Lake Nasworthy. Here is a story by the Mayor: Why the Concho River Water Project is a Priority.
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