Log in

Top Stories        News         Sports

Public asked to steer county development, planning

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Polk County Judge Sydney Murphy takes questions from those in attendance at Camp Cho-Yeh Tuesday. Photo by Brian BeschPolk County Judge Sydney Murphy takes questions from those in attendance at Camp Cho-Yeh Tuesday. Photo by Brian Besch

By Brian Besch
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

On Tuesday, the Livingston-Polk County Chamber of Commerce met at Camp Cho-Yeh for a luncheon, with the main topics concerning economic development and job creation for the area.

The county and chamber are looking to compile as much data as possible from Polk County residents, businesses and organizations on the direction of growth. County Judge and Tuesday’s guest speaker Sydney Murphy said further growth in the area is approaching, and a plan for it will benefit all.

“There are a couple of things that are crucial to Polk County in terms of economic development. If you look at economic development across the entire nation, it follows transportation,” Murphy said. “With us becoming I-69, following the footprint of (Highway) 59, that brings a lot of transportation through here, which is going to bring a lot of economic development with it as well.”

Murphy said not only will I-69 bring traffic through the area, but I-14 that is planned to develop down the Highway 190 footprint would as well. Murphy warned that the latter development would not likely follow that path if communities are opposed.

“They try to find an avenue with the least amount of opposition,” Murphy said. “Regardless, that puts Polk County as in the bull’s-eye. It is the intersection of I-69 and I-14, because those two corridors intersect in Polk County. Economic development comes with it, and we need to be prepared for that. What we would like to do — as much as possible — is have some planning in place.”

Murphy said freight mobility is anticipated to double in the state of Texas in 25 years, and that the largest volume of goods in the entire hemisphere comes through the state of Texas.

“We are smack dab in the middle of it,” Murphy said.

Looking to plan ahead, an economic development group has begun with strategies to relay what the community wants. The county judge said Polk County has participated in economic development plans in the past that were large on dollar amounts and short on returns.

“Those studies were conducted by groups that were not from the area and did not know the nuances of the community.”

In the last economic development, one of the requests the chamber made was to conduct two different travel studies. One request was for between October and December, when the escapes are in Polk County, and another between May and July, when tourism is at a high. Instead, the study was performed in September.

“It doesn’t do us any good to receive data that we can’t truly utilize. Could we utilize that data? Yeah, we could, but it didn’t give us the true picture that we needed as a community to make decisions.”

The county and chamber will move forward with its own survey made up of questions they formulate. They are asking for engagement from everyone — while they want information from schools and businesses, they are also looking for all individuals in the county to take part in a survey.

“We want to base our goals and our objectives on what the community as a whole sees as being a need. Where do we need to go? What do we want? What do we need? What is the long-range plan? Where do you want to be in five years, and 10, or in 20? We need every group and every entity involved, and especially, we need to know what our younger businesspeople want.

“Economic growth is good, but it needs to be planned. It can’t be haphazard, and we can’t have highways where you have to go north in order to get south. We need to have well-planned transportation and we need to have will planned economic development. In my mind, the way for that to happen is for the current residents of our communities to have a say, to provide input saying this is the direction to go. Then, we can compile that information and that will allow the economic development groups to make informed decisions about how to proceed. It will allow the chamber to make informed decisions, it will allow all of the cities to make informed decisions, and it will certainly allow the county to try to figure out which direction we need to go and how we can support those cities and development. It will make a difference if we can get input from as many people and organizations as possible.”

The surveys are scheduled to be available in September both online and in paper form. Websites where they can be found include visitlivingstontexas.com, www.co.polktx.us and polkcountyeconomicdevelopment.com, while a paper version be found in the Enterprise.

Say something here...
symbols left.
You are a guest
or post as a guest
Loading comment... The comment will be refreshed after 00:00.

Be the first to comment.