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Navasota State of the City

January 18, 2023 - 00:00
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Miller reviews City’s changing landscape

The headliner of the Jan. 11 Navasota State of the City Address, Mayor Bert Miller, began his presentation with a review of the projects which literally changed the face and landscape of Navasota in 2022.

Retail and rooftops

The City’s very active Development Services Department saw more than $26.4 million invested in the Navasota community.

On the retail and business side in 2022, the City welcomed Los Cabos Mexican Grill, Chicken Express, Red Board Tavern & Table, Health-Point Clinic, Rail & Rye, Key Performance Petroleum Facility, Joe’s Italian Restaurant and the expansion of United Ag & Turf. The 2,621 building inspections conducted in 2022 represented a 55% increase over 2021.

Miller said, “And yes, H-E-B did finalize the purchase of acreage at the intersection of Highway 6 and 105 East. We’re just waiting for them to submit their site plans and zone change documents so we can get moving with that development.”

On the rooftop side, Miller said 99 new single-family homes and two duplex permits were issued and the 30lot Phase I of the new Hidden Hills Subdivision got underway in 2022.

According to Miller, current projects slated for completion in 2023 are Team Elliott Ford, Navasota Welding Supply, North Side Market, Phase IV of the Pecan Lakes Estates Subdivision with 180 homes, Jack in the Box, Fairway Self Storage and a downtown fitness center which plans to open in February.

Miller said, “In the next couple of years, there will be the development of Pecan Grove, a 200-home development, an added phase in Hidden Hills and plans for a 400lot development on Highway 90 just east of town. And with that approaching, the City begins the planning and design of a new water plant and tower. We’re looking forward to that growth.”

Taking care of business

The Economic Development Department enjoyed successes in 2022 which included submission of the City’s first Enterprise Zone Program application through the Governor’s Office for Champion Home Builders’ $10 million investment creating 250 jobs. Navasota projects won awards from both the Texas and International Economic Development Councils.

The City renewed its contract with the Retail Coach, partnered with the Navasota Grimes Chamber of Commerce to host its first-ever Franchise Owner workshop, and sold the former Public Works warehouse on Railroad Street to what will become home to the WildFlyer Mead and Brewing Company.

Miller said, “The Shop Local initiative continues to be successful, increasing our sales tax revenue 13% over 2021. We also boast a low unemployment rate of under 5% primarily due to the thriving industrial sector of Navasota.”

In 2022, the City approved the creation of TIRZ No. 1, Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone, to prepare for “smart growth.”

Addressing SH 249, Miller said, “It started well over 10 years ago, if not 20 or more years ago in the design stage. Community members were involved in planning the routes so Navasota would benefit and not be a pass-thru. We’re already in talks with TxDOT about improvements to 105.”

Best face forward

Improving the City’s curb appeal, the Downtown Streetscape Project continues on both sides of Washington Avenue from Baylor Lumber to Prosperity Bank and wayfinding directional signs are slated for installation. Annual cleanup events will increase to three in 2023. Two pavilions which had become havens for the homeless and crime were demolished and will provide much needed downtown parking.

The awarding of numerous grants in 2022 facilitated improvements to streets, sidewalks and parks, and include, the Brosig Avenue sidewalk, bridge and lighting project beginning soon.

Enriching quality of life

With the employment of a new marketing and communications director came the redesign of numerous websites to promote Navasota and Navasota events. For example, the 10th Annual Texas Birthday Bash which played host to 15,000 attendees, Sounds of Summer Concert Series, Navasota Freedom Festival and Christmas Home for the Holidays activities.

The year 2022 saw the continuation of cultural activities through the Navasota Artists in Residence program, the expansion of activities at the Navasota Public Library for children and adults year-round such as the Summer Reading Program, the farmers market, book signings, writing workshops and the “Read Between the Wines” book club.

Local youth saw the City organize the Navasota Soccer League which attracted 162 participants ages 3-15.

According to Miller, the Navasota Municipal Airport now hosts 77 aircraft and gas sales has tripled since 2017. FBO Spinner Aviation is working with Navasota ISD on the Tango Flight engineering program.

Law, order and safety

In 2022, the Municipal Court participated in Reality Education for Drivers to help those ages 17-25 who drive 100-120 miles per hour change their attitude about driving.

Under the leadership of a new police chief, the Navasota Police Department answered 15,300 calls, a 10% increase in call volume since 2021. Through grants and other programs, NPD has significantly improved its equipment.

The Navasota Fire Department responded to 1,810 incidents, an increase of 19% since 2021.The receipt of grants has also enhanced that department’s equipment. Miller noted the expected delivery of a new fire engine in 2023.

In closing, Miller said, “This council and the staff of this city are dedicated to the citizens in the things we do every day. We want to keep close track of the growth, get ahead of it. We’re always looking for those who want to join us, to volunteer to get on the boards and commissions and be a part of the process.”