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first_img Facebook Pinterest By admin – January 14, 2018 Twitter Odessa city council The debate on the Odessa City Council about a proposal to restructure the board turned to the city’s eastern sprawl, where the most recent oil boom brought a surge in population and a rush of new construction of buildings and homes.Council members Malcolm Hamilton and Filiberto Gonzales argued the eastward growth stiffs other Odessans when supported by business incentives and public infrastructure investments.And Councilwoman Barbara Graff said she would not approve public incentives for businesses moving in the part of Odessa across the Midland County line, because it “cheats” other taxing entities, like the school and hospital districts.But obscured in the debate were the reasons behind Odessa’s outward expansion: a reality decades in the making and driven by simple realities such as available land where people can build and existing infrastructure necessary to support a new home or a new business.Gonzales had argued, after incorrectly asserting that public coffers do not benefit from growth in the east, that: “We are not growing there because the citizens of Odessa voted on that. We are growing out there because of special interests, people that want it to grow in that area and sell their land.”Indeed, private developers generally expect to profit when they build a home. And a company builds a new restaurant or movie theater in places where they are deemed likely to succeed.But there’s more to it.East Odessa also had viable land, while property to the south and west carries constraints. That’s true too in north Odessa, which also saw a boom in new homes and businesses in recent years.“There’s a lot that’s being generated by the cinema out there, the restaurants out there,” Mayor David Turner said. “Is it perfect, no? But unfortunately we live in a city that is surrounded by ranches. Some of them want to sell, some don’t. And there’s an old oilfield.”In east Odessa, he added in a later interview: “That’s where the land was.”Developers building east faced fewer obstacles from oilfield infrastructure like pipelines than if they had built in other directions, said Drew Crutcher, a civil engineer and former economic development volunteer. Another one of the main driving factors of eastward development is access to sewer lines.“There are possibilities for infill development but when you are talking about large portions of the city, Odessa is growing to the east,” Crutcher said. “Midland is growing to the west. There are reasons for that. And it’s infrastructure that can be extended.”In south Odessa, in addition to the industrial areas that include petrochemical and power plants, outward growth is constrained by sewer lines.South of the city’s sewage treatment plant at 9600 South County Road 1325 (which is in Midland County), lines would have to flow uphill, meaning much greater cost.To the west of Odessa’s city limits, there’s another problem: unincorporated West Odessa. Annexing West Odessa would come with tremendous cost. Roads are often not up to city code. Key infrastructure such as sewage lines often do not exist. Development in many cases didn’t factor in drainage.And many West Odessans would likely oppose being annexed anyway, said District 4 Councilman Mike Gardner, who grew up there. They might not want to pay the greater taxes that come with living in the city or deal with city restrictions that could affect things like their pets or livestock.“So isn’t it logical that you would go to areas that developers want to build and people want to build up the community?” Gardner said.For years, that has also included Gardner’s district, such as the building boom in the 87th Street area. But development in north Odessa is also limited by an airport and an oilfield to the west.Odessa’s outward growth also stems from the work of city planners and a few ranching families in the 1950s on land stretching north of Yukon Road to the south below Interstate 20 and east into Midland County.The ranchers worked with city officials and oil interests to reserve spaces for current or future development in exchange for an agreement not to drill for oil and gas on the remaining land. The arrangement would allow land owners to finance their projects, able to assure lenders that production would not encroach.It made building homes and businesses easier.Some of the arguments against supporting east side development on Tuesday were based on incorrect or incomplete information. For example, the infrastructure costs of installing water and sewer lines that Gonzales and Hamilton railed against are chiefly paid for by developers, even though it’s true that the city does bear costs of maintaining roads and utility lines once they are built.Gonzales had pointed to the county line and said “anything and everything that we build here or that we give money to is not a benefit to Odessa. It’s not a return on investment.”At one point, District 2 Councilman Dewey Bryant reminded fellow council members of the Odessans who live there.“Are they not a part of this city?” asked Bryant, who represents them.But Hamilton had made the same argument, ignoring realities like sales taxes injected into city coffers to fund citywide projects, new jobs for Odessans and new homes for families that need them.He argued for a heavier hand in development by the city.“How about we spread out the development throughout all of Odessa so everyone can see some type of return on their investment?” Hamilton said.Today, the city is trying to channel development into its long blighted downtown. That strategy of enticing development costs millions: more than $30 million invested in the hotel and convention center project, plus millions more in building purchases and improvements, along with other dedicated resources. The city’s long-range plan calls for similar targeted redevelopment efforts in the future throughout Odessa.But the recent debate is poised to continue, with Gonzales saying he planned to keep bringing up the discussion at City Council meetings and the perceived influence of east Odessa forming a key part of the argument by a group opposing the plan to restructure the City Council.And more east Odessa development lies ahead. That includes the more than 850-acre Parks Bell Ranch development in the area north of Highway 191 and east of Faudree Road.Just before the debate on supporting east Odessa, the City Council approved a zoning request for part of the project on Tuesday, with Hamilton the lone dissenting vote.“Who are we to say where we grow the city at or we don’t grow the city at?” Gardner said. “A city that’s not growing is dying.” Pinterest WhatsApp WhatsApp Previous articleClark taking on Court at Law officeNext articleGUEST VIEW: Schumer is running on fumes admin Why Odessa grows east Facebook Twitter Local NewsGovernmentlast_img read more

first_imgCoffee Republic is dipping its toe into continental-style drinking culture as some cafés have started to sell alcohol. Speaking to British Baker at Caffè Culture, UK franchise director Kevin Frostick said Coffee Republic hadn’t really pushed the concept of licensed cafes, but where franchisees wanted to sell alcohol, the company had helped with alcohol licence applications to local authorities.”It’s just a handful, three or four, at the moment,” he said. Frostick said some councils were not willing to grant the licences, but others welcomed the move towards a continental European drinking culture. One of the franchises selling alcohol, in Crawley, Sussex, is offering both chilled wine and beer.Coffee Republic was at Caffè Culture to promote its concessions. Frostick said that the quality of enquiries at the show had been high.last_img read more

first_img“This is a social health movement that promotes healthy lifestyles,” said Ana Treasure, a representative of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), which is a proponent of Honduras Actívate. “We hope other nations follow this pioneer approach that Honduras has taken. We would like a Guatemala Actívate, a Costa Rica Actívate, a Panamá Actívate. We want all Central America active.” Besides the government’s support, business sponsors donate t-shirts, beverages and some of the awards for the winners, who receive medals but also mountain bikes, sports equipment, free hotel stays and gym memberships. Honduras Actívate, a new program spearheaded by the country’s government and Armed Forces to improve the civilian population’s health, “began as a small initiative to promote tourism and healthy entertainment opportunities to the residents of focused areas,” according to Artillery Colonel Jorge Fuentes, the effort’s National Coordinator. The program’s success has led Military officials to evaluate its scope and frequency. Col. Fuentes is considering launching a Honduras Actívate Extreme event in the northern Department of Atlántida, after the rainy season, when the Cangrejal River is optimal for rafting. Latin music with upbeat rhythms grows louder as thousands of adults, teenagers and children wearing brightly colored t-shirts and caps fill Honduras’ streets during the early hours. In addition to bringing business to host cities, the initiative has also helped Military and law enforcement authorities improve public safety in local neighborhoods where criminals had been operating. “Through this program we have recovered spaces, some of which had been damaged by drug traffickers and other delinquents,” Col. Fuentes said. Still, promoting fitness and tourism are its primary aims. “The goals of Honduras Actívate are geared towards the prevention of nontransmissible diseases, like hypertension and obesity, which lead to other illnesses; but we also want to stimulate tourism and we want to create the conditions that result in economic growth for the communities where the events take place. If people have a positive experience, they will return on their own.” Col. Fuentes and his team, which is supported by members from each branch of the Armed Forces, are responsible for scouting areas where exercise programs are held. Military officials register participants, provide security the day of the event and even run, walk or bicycle with some of the participants to build enthusiasm. The Armed Forces officials also transport some participants to events and administer emergency medical care, if needed. “We want 20 points activated to begin with, but we hope to have these mini exercise sessions in all the 298 municipalities of Honduras eventually,” Col. Fuentes said. “We are establishing new platforms because we want this to be a system, rather than a sporadic occurrence.” By Dialogo July 20, 2015 I would like to find the link about the boat that sunk with the oxen in Pará. “We want everyone to find an activity that suits them,” Col. Fuentes said. “We have high-intensity options for professional athletes, but we want to encourage everyone to engage someway, whether it’s 18 kilometers on a bike, a 30-minute walk or something lighter.” The next event, in May, was a success, with about 3,500 people showing up to Gracias, Lempira to trek through its cloud-forest mountains and for the bike and distance-running competitions. Armed Forces officials held it at Celaque National Park, a main source of water for the western part of the country and home to its highest peak, Las Minas – 2,870 meters above sea level. They chose the area, known for its colonial architecture and history, because Honduras Actívate “wanted to highlight the zone as a premium destination for ecological and adventure tourism as well.” Some families and groups of friends made it a weekend affair, filling the town’s hotels and restaurants, providing a significant boost to local businesses. center_img In July, Armed Forces officials are planning to host at least an hour of Zumba on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at different points in the nation’s two largest cities, Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula. A wide array of activities “I like the initiative. I like that it’s a family environment. I am happy sports are promoted because a person with these habits is healthier and keeps stress at bay.” The program is also expanding into the workplace, where government employees will use part of their day to exercise, developing routines that address occupational health problems. The program has expanded to include other sports, with community members leading activities like Zumba, karate and boxing lessons; organizers are also offering table tennis and chess to those seeking less strenuous activities, while young children play in inflated bounce houses at Honduras Actívate events. But since then, the initiative has grown, hosting an event every two weeks, including activities in Lake Yojoa, in La Tigra (close to Tegucigalpa); in Tela; in San Pedro Sula; and most recently, in July in La Ceiba in the Honduran Caribbean. It’s also gaining popularity, as the number of attendees rose from 7,000 for the fourth event to a record 20,000 for the sixth event, in San Pedro Sula. Its first event occurred in April, when the Navy organized a series of athletic competitions, such as bike races and distance running, on the island of Amapala in the Pacific Ocean. Attendance was modest, but Military officials saw the program’s potential. Sabrina Estrada, a two-time participant of the intermediate cycling competition, told Honduras National Television she is very pleased with the program. Plans to expand the program Because the program focuses on improving the civil population’s health, it’s popular with various government agencies and private businesses. “Different sectors have seen the value of what is being done and have decided to partner,” Col. Fuentes explained. last_img read more