Chamber of Commerce   Economic Development

Annual Report

 

BIG LAKE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION

October 2015-September 2016 ANNUAL REPORT

Big Lake, Texas – Investing in Our Community

                                                              YEAR IN REVIEW

As we say goodbye to 2016 and ring in a prosperous 2017, the Big Lake Economic Development continues to promote business and sustainability throughout our community.  It has been an honor to work alongside great community stakeholders, leaders and professionals who brought opportunities to Big Lake this past year.

The achievements made over the past twelve months reflect the dedicated work of the BLEDC but more importantly, they are a testament to the continuous support of individuals, businesses and community leaders involved in strategies that focus on the needs of Big Lake as a whole.  The focus over the course of this year of the BLEDC has been to promote new business, support existing business and bring awareness to Big Lake through the BLEDC’s Beautification Project along the US 67 corridor.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS & PROJECTS

The Economic Development continues to play a key role in our community’s efforts focused on building a solid foundation for growth and prosperity. The BLEDC has been instrumental in bringing forward programs and projects focused on demonstrating Big Lake as a business-friendly community. Typical barriers to economic growth include financial resources, inadequate housing, being land-locked on three geographical sides by the University of Texas Lands and a heavy dependence on a single industry.  Big Lake is working hard to break through these barriers and continues to make progress.  Activities of note in this area include:

***BEAUTIFICATION PROJECT***

The BLEDC continues to focus on creating long-term benefits for the community by creating a more stable business environment and improved quality of life. In 2016 the BLEDC spent $120,397 of Sales Tax Funds and aided nine local businesses in beautifying the US 67 corridor with flower gardens and wind sculptures. Many people in the community are impacted directly by, and have a direct impact on the “First Impression” of our community.  For an organization of our size, building and maintaining relationships with a diverse group of stakeholders are both priorities and ongoing challenges.  Included in the Phase I Beautification Project were:

   Blake’s Auto Parts  *  City Entry  *  Sugar Creek Grill  *  Matthews Properties  *   A.E.P. * Big Lake Inn & Suites  *  US Post Office   *  Republic Hotel   *  Security Bank

 

*** ADVERTISING & PROMOTION PROGRAM ***

In the Fiscal Year of October 2015 through September 2016 the B.L.E.D.C. awarded funds to five businesses for signage, and/or exterior refurbishing of their business.   Under Texas law the B.L.E.D.C. may allocate a maximum ten percent of total revenue per annum for the Advertising & Promotion Program.  Since 2008 – 2016 twenty-two (22) local businesses have received $172,434 through the Advertising & Promotion Program. Those businesses receiving funds this year were:

     
FEEN Nails  *  J & M Tire Shop  *  R & S Donuts * Taters House *  Reagan Co. Abstract & Title

 

                           *** BUSINESS RETENTION, EXPANSION & RECRUITMENT ***

The Big Lake Economic Development Corporation was formed to administer the sales and use tax approved by the citizens of Big Lake, Texas and collected pursuant to the Development Corporation Act of 1979 for the development, promotion, creation, retention or expansion of business enterprises that create or retain jobs, and for suitable infrastructure necessary to promote or develop business enterprises.  Since 2008 thru 2016 thirty-two (32) local businesses have been awarded $802,292 and created over 60 jobs in Big Lake. Those efforts for this year are summarized as follows:

Sonic Drive-In:  It took eight years, but the BLEDC was successful in attracting a Sonic franchise out of Big Spring, Texas, to create twelve new jobs and offer the citizens of our community another choice of eating establishments. Sonic has proven to be supportive of the youth of the community and works closely with RCISD in employment and career planning.                                                            

Crystal’s 2nd Connection:  The BLEDC awarded a relocation grant to Crystal’s 2nd Connection and entered into a two year lease agreement for building and property.

Big Lake Beer Barn:  In the later part of the year, the BLEDC sold property and awarded a construction grant for the implementation of a drive-thru Beer Barn soon to be under construction on US 67.  

***HOUSING***

 Quality, affordable housing continues to be a complicated challenge for our community. Affordable housing is generally defined as the cost for rental or ownership housing that does not exceed 30% of a family’s income. The real need, however, is for housing rentals for mid-management level workers – many of whom reside outside Big Lake yet derive the majority of the family income from work in Big Lake. 

It is apparent that affordable housing weighs heavily on the community’s ability to address the workforce challenge. The BLEDC has taken steps to address this important need.

Santa Rita Homes: In February 2014, the BLEDC provided a new business start-up grant to begin to address the severe housing shortage in Big Lake.  Santa Rita Homes is currently 100% rented and is now under construction for additional units.

Single family homes are by far the most difficult for a community to generate because of the private investment required.  Due to the volatility of the oil and drilling business, private investors are hesitant to invest in building single family homes.  We have been told, unfortunately, this area is always the last to be addressed. However, the BLEDC will continue to build upon existing partnerships – both local and regional – which have potential for future development.

***INDUSTRIAL PARK DEVELOPMENT***

The Big Lake economy is, and always will be, heavily dependent on the oil and gas industry. Big Lake is located at the crossroads of one of the largest oil and gas plays in the Western Hemisphere.  Oil and gas exploration activities over the past years have had a major impact on the growth of the city.  Issues surrounding the energy industry are complex and stakeholders represent multiple viewpoints.  The discussions we undertake with our stakeholders help us to understand a variety of subjects from a number of perspectives. Regular stakeholder engagement has helped us continually improve the BLEDC and remain a responsible partner. These industry activities have placed both a strain on services and infrastructure, yet provide numerous opportunities for new housing, attraction of retail and industrial services, and a catalyst for job creation.

City of Big Lake – Industrial Park:  in this fiscal year, the BLEDC contributed $211,269 for the paving in the Industrial Park.  In the past three years the BLEDC has allocated $591,269 to the City of Big Lake for infrastructure in the Industrial Park.

*** MOVING FORWARD IN 2017 ***

The Big Lake Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors is dedicated to improve the quality of life in Big Lake. The BLEDC continually evaluates what we do for relevancy sake.  Everything we do must be relevant to our partners.  The BLEDC is driven by the needs of the community it serves.  We will continue to seek out opportunities to support the community.  The active participation of businesses, community leaders and volunteers throughout the community will ensure the continued success and sustainability of the BLEDC and Big Lake for years to come.

Regards,

Gloria Baggett, Executive Director