Incoming growth and how to prepare for it was a common theme at today’s (Wednesday) “State of the Community” forum, hosted by the Washington County Chamber of Commerce.
Representatives from the City of Brenham, Washington County and the Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative met at Blinn College to discuss recent businesses, current affairs and future plans.
Brenham Mayor Milton Tate spoke about the town’s ongoing economic and infrastructure development projects, such as the Baker Katz shopping center and road improvements. He also pointed to the problems that inflation and supply chain issues have created, especially when it comes to meeting the need to build low-cost housing.
Tate stressed the importance of finding ways to grow while preserving the city’s identity.
Washington County Judge John Durrenberger mentioned the county’s efforts to improve compensation for county employees and establish a long-term plan for road and bridge projects, as well as projects such as the restoration of the palace of justice and preliminary plans for the construction of a judicial centre. In addition, he spoke about the role improvements to the Washington County Expo Center will play in hosting major conferences and events in the region.
Durrenberger said amid national and global uncertainty, every part of the county must come together to succeed.
Bluebonnet General Manager Matt Bentke discussed the co-op’s use of a tailored approach to economic development to meet the needs and wants of all the communities it serves. He also spoke about the importance of striking a balance between renewable and thermal energy to prepare for extreme weather conditions, and how success in any part of Bluebonnet’s service area can lead to shared prosperity for all members. .
Bentke said the co-op has seen its share of major projects increase significantly over the past year, a telltale sign of the population boom in Bluebonnet territory.
The lunch ended with a brief question and answer segment, with the speakers answering questions from the audience.