Author Archive

Podcast: How tourism can fuel business recovery

For the first time since the pandemic changed everything, I interviewed Economic Development Director Natalie Ruiz. In spite of the local, state and federal funding put into the hands of local businesses, we still lost far too many.

So, now what?

In this episode of All Up In Your Business, Natalie talks about her dual role of supporting local businesses while aggressively working to bring in more jobs that diversify College Station’s economy. She also explains how her office’s brand-new tourism division aims to bring people to College Station at a time when there is still a reluctance to travel, attend events, and visit destinations.

This episode also features Economic Development Manager Aubrey Nettles, who is leading a holiday campaign to make College Station the Christmas destination in Texas, thanks in large part to a strategic partnership with Santa’s Wonderland. 

Nat finishes up with a few fun biz updates on things coming soon to College Station.

All Up In Your Business is available via Podbean, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Stitcher, and YouTube. Please subscribe, rate, and recommend!

Have a suggestion for a future topic or interview, or just want to say hi? Send to jsocol@cstx.gov  

 


About the Blogger Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his 11th year as College Station’s public communications director. A 1991 graduate of Texas A&M. Jay has also been communications director for the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, public information officer for the City of Bryan, and news director at several Bryan-College Station area radio stations. A native of Breckenridge, he also serves as president of the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers.


 

If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!  


Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (Oct. 22)

Standing (L-R): John Crompton, Bob Brick, Dennis Maloney. Sitting (L-R): Linda Harvell, Mayor Karl Mooney, John Nichols.

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, Oct. 22. It’s not the official minutes.

The meetings are streamed live on Suddenlink Channel 19 and at cstx.gov/cstv19. To join the meeting online, go to Zoom or call 888 475 4499 and enter meeting number 910 2349 1784. if the call-in number isn’t working, access will be limited to Zoom.

5:12 p.m.

The workshop has started. 

5:28 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

The council pulled these items for discussion from the regular meeting’s consent agenda:

  • Northgate Parking Removal: The ordinance would add “No Parking Here to Corner” signs at entrances and exits to public garages and parking areas in the Northgate District, and also addresses four intersections with sight clearance concerns in the area. Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

  • Water/Wastewater Impact Fee Study: The $300,000 contract with Freese & Nichols is for an update to the  2016 water and wastewater impact study. The contract will include the calibration of the existing water and wastewater extended-period models, updates to water and wastewater capital improvement plans, and updates to land use assumptions to determine the potential maximum fees under the Texas Administrative Code.

5:49 p.m.

Neighborhood Street Sign Toppers

The council voted unanimously to approve the Neighborhood Street Sign Toppers Program, which involves installing sign toppers on existing city traffic-control signs at prominent neighborhood locations.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

6:04 p.m.

Destination Marketing

The council discussed and endorsed the city’s destination marketing strategy for tourism and economic development.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

6:34 p.m.

Small Business Advisory Group

The council discussed the formation of a small business advisory group and ways the city can engage with the small business community.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

6:38 p.m.

After the council discussed its calendar and received committee reports, Mayor Karl Mooney adjourned the workshop. The regular meeting starts after a short break.

6:55 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:01 p.m.

Bill Harris Proclamation

The mayor issued a proclamation honoring Dr. Bill Harris for representing the city on the Brazos Valley Groundwater Conservation District’s board of directors from 2013 to 2020.

7:04 p.m.

Hear Visitors

No one spoke during Hear Visitors, when citizens may address the council on any item that does not appear on the posted agenda.

7:05 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda.

  • The renewal of master agreements not to exceed $30,000 each for real estate appraisal services with Duff & Phelps, JLL Valuation & Advisory Services, Lowery Property Advisors, Paul Hornsby & Company; S.T. Lovett & Associates, and Valbridge Property Advisors.
  • An annual price agreement not to exceed $900,204 with KBS Electrical Distributors for electric three-phase pad-mounted transformers.
  • The renewal of an inter-local agreement with Brazos County for housing College Station Class C misdemeanor prisoners in the Brazos County Jail.
  • Annual price agreements not to exceed $1,351,302 for electric warehouse inventory materials with Anixter ($32,803), KBS Electrical Distributors ($288,083), Techline ($999,886), and Wesco Distribution ($30,530).
  • The removal of street parking at entrances and exits to public garages, parking areas, and certain intersections in the Northgate District.
  • A $140,000 funding agreement with Catholic Charities to provide case management and assistance to residents affected by COVID-19.
  • A $257,234 lease agreement for the property at 614 Holleman Drive East among the Brazos Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau, the City of College Station and TRDWind Wolf Pen.
  • The first renewal of the master agreement not to exceed $150,000 with The Reynolds Company for Rockwell Automation products and services to maintain SCADA infrastructure.
  • A $4.61 million contract with Brazos Paving for base failure repairs and pavement treatments.
  • An ordinance prohibiting left turns from Gilchrist Avenue to Williams Street on school days.
  • A $300,000 contract with Freese & Nichols to update the city-wide water and wastewater impact study.
  • The 2020 Property Tax Roll of $52.5 million.
  • A real estate contract to convey one-acre of city-owned property at 1820 Harvey Mitchell Parkway in Bryan.

7:18 p.m.

Bond Refunding

The council voted unanimously to approve the issuance and sale of as much as $17,085,000 of Certificates of Obligation Series 2012 and General Obligation Refunding and Improvement Bonds Series 2012. The refunding would reduce overall bond costs by about $2.19 million (amount corrected 10/23).

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

8:00 p.m.

COVID-19 Assistance

After a public hearing, the council discussed COVID-19 assistance provided by the city to residents and businesses, other community needs caused by the pandemic, and an additional $822,000 in available CARES Act funding.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

8:02 p.m.

Baylor Scott & White Reimbursement

The council voted unanimously to approve a public health reimbursement of $748,000 with CARE Act funds to Baylor Scott & White for public health labor expenses and supplies related to COVID-19.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

8:04 p.m.

CHI St. Joseph Reimbursement

The council voted unanimously to approve a public health reimbursement of $641,168 with CARE Act funds to CHI St. Joseph Regional Health Center for public health labor expenses and supplies related to COVID-19.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

8:17 p.m.

Greenway to Parkland Conversion

The council voted unanimously to approve the conversion of 110.5 acres of greenway property to parkland in the area bordered by the Midtown Business Park, Rock Prairie Road, and State Highway 6.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

8:27 p.m.

Disaster Declaration Extension

The council unanimously voted to extend the mayor’s COVID-19 disaster declaration.

8:29 p.m.

After the council discussed future agenda items, Mayor Mooney adjourned the meeting. The council’s next workshop and regular meetings are set for Thursday, Nov. 12.

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as the associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also worked as a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.


 

If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!


Festive Day of the Dead holiday celebrates life

By Ana Romero, Recreation Manager

Do you remember the movie, “Coco,” the box office hit from 2017? The 3D computer-animated fantasy was loaded with colors, festivities, skeletons, and the magical world of music.

The film was inspired by the traditional Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos — or Day of the Dead — which is celebrated Nov. 1-2 each year. 

Day of the Dead is a joyous occasion filled with traditions that honor loved ones who have passed away. The cultural holiday celebrates dying as just another part of life. It’s observed not only in Mexico but in many Latin American countries.  

Day of the Dead is like a family reunion where the dead ancestors are the guests of honor. People celebrate the deceased’s memories by building an ofrenda — or altar — with memorabilia, candles, flowers, and favorite foods and drinks. Ofrendas also feature calaveritas — skulls typically made from sugar or clay — to add a vibrant touch of color to the festivities. 

We invite you to celebrate the Day of The Dead with a free grab bag filled with facts, coloring sheets, and a fun craft. The bags have English and Spanish text and may be picked up at the Stephen C. Beachy Central Park Office from Monday through Friday next week between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. 

If you call 979-764-3486 when you arrive, we’ll bring it out for curbside pickup.

 


About the Blogger Ana Romero is in her fourth year as recreation manager. She previously served the City of McAllen as recreation supervisor, community center manager, and aquatics superintendent. Ana earned a bachelor’s degree in Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences from Texas A&M in 2001.


  If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!  


5 things to watch at Thursday’s city council meetings

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

The College Station City Council meets at city hall on Thursday for its workshop (after 4 p.m.) and regular (6 p.m.) meetings. Public attendance is restricted.

The meetings will be streamed live on Suddenlink Channel 19 and at cstx.gov/cstv19. To join the meeting online, go to Zoom or call 888 475 4499 and enter meeting number 910 2349 1784. if the call-in number isn’t working, access will be limited to Zoom.

To address the council via Zoom about any agenda item — or about non-agenda topics during Hear Visitors — you must register with the city secretary before the meeting by calling 979-764-3500 or emailing CSO@cstx.gov before the meeting starts. Written comments submitted to CSO@cstx.gov will be provided to the council members.

Here are five items to watch:

  1. Street Sign Toppers: In the workshop, the council will discuss the Neighborhood Street Sign Toppers Program, which involves installing sign toppers on existing city traffic-control signs at prominent neighborhood locations.
  2. No Left From Gilchrist to Williams: As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider prohibiting left turns from Gilchrist Avenue onto Williams Street on school days to improve safety during pick-up and drop-off times.
  3. Refunding Bonds: In the regular meeting, the council will consider the issuance and sale of as much as $17,085,000 of Certificates of Obligation Series 2012 and General Obligation Refunding and Improvement Bonds Series 2012. The refunding would reduce bond costs by about $1.46 million.
  4. COVID-19 Assistance: After a public hearing, the council will discuss COVID-19 assistance provided to residents and businesses, other community needs caused by the pandemic, and an additional $822,034 in available CARES Act funding.
  5. Greenway to Parkland Conversion: On the regular agenda, the council will consider converting 110.5 acres of greenway property to parkland in the area bordered by the Midtown Business Park, Rock Prairie Road, and State Highway 6.

Related Links:                                                            

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as the associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also worked as a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.


If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!


Can you Imagine a Day Without Water?

By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

Millions of Americans take water for granted. They turn on the tap, and clean water flows out. They flush the toilet, and dirty water goes away. 

Regular hand washing is one of the most important ways to limit the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases, yet we rarely think about what it takes to make water flow freely from the tap and safely return to the environment. 

Wednesday marks the sixth annual Imagine a Day Without Water, a day of action and awareness that highlights water’s essential nature in our daily lives and the importance of investing in our water infrastructure to responsibly provide a sustainable water supply for future generations.

Every day, College Station Water Services does the essential work of ensuring you have clean, healthy drinking water and safe sanitation. Our ample water supply helps protect public safety in other ways, too. 

Without sufficient water pressure for our network of 3,233 fire hydrants, the College Station Fire Department wouldn’t be able to fight fires. Thankfully, our water distribution system’s outstanding reliability helped College Station receive a Class 1 ISO fire rating — and that means you may pay less to insure your home or business.

Our two water towers hold a combined five million gallons and provide enough water pressure to simultaneously run washing machines and irrigation systems while supplying adequate flow from hydrants to extinguish fires. A third water tower under construction near the Baylor Scott & White Hospital will stabilize the water pressure and help meet our ever-growing demands.

As the Lick Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant expands its capacity from two million to five million gallons per day, the Carter Creek plant continues to turn an average of six million gallons of wastewater into clean water every day.

Here are two ways you can commemorate Imagine A Day Without Water:

  1. Watch Brave Blue World, a Netflix documentary that starts airing Wednesday. The film spotlights global water issues and highlights scientific and technological advancements that assure the world of access to clean water and safe sanitation services while protecting the environment.
  2. Encourage fifth-graders you know to enter the Imagine A Day Without Water poster contest, sponsored by Texas Section AWWA and Water Environment Association of Texas by Oct. 31. Up to 13 winning entries will be featured in the 2021 Imagine A Day Without Water calendar. Participants are invited to draw a picture that illustrates the theme of “What Do You Love About Water? Why is Water Important to You, Your Friends, or Your Family?”.

College Station consistently ranks among the nation’s best places to live and fastest-growing communities. We’re committed to investing in the infrastructure our growing community needs to remain such a great place to live and do business.

 


About the Blogger Jennifer Nations has been the City of College Station’s water resource coordinator since 1999 after serving two years as BVSWMA’s environmental compliance officer. She’s also chair of the Water Conservation and Reuse Division for the Texas Section of the American Water Works Association. A native of Fremont, Calif., Jennifer earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental & resource science from UC-Davis in 1995 and a master’s degree in water management & hydrologic science from Texas A&M in 2016.


  If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!  


Household Hazardous Waste event set for Saturday

By Caroline Ask, Environmental Compliance & Recycling Manager

Area residents are invited to participate in the fall household hazardous waste collection event on Saturday from 7 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Texas A&M University General Services Building. The entrance to the facility is on Harvey Road east of Veterans Park and Athletic Complex.

The free event is open to Brazos Valley residents and offers safe disposal of a wide range of household hazardous wastes. Improper disposal — such as pouring cleaning agents down a storm inlet, on the ground, or into your recycling or garbage containers — poses severe health and safety risks to not only the environment but to solid waste, wastewater, and other workers.

Accepted items include household quantities of paint, pesticides, herbicides, oil and oil filters, cleaning agents, antifreeze, fluorescent bulbs, and car batteries. Items not accepted are tires, commercial or industrial waste, PCBs, radioactive materials, explosives, household trash, and biological waste.

Please bring your household materials in the original containers with labels intact — and don’t mix products. You should also label materials that aren’t in the original packages and secure products so they won’t tip or leak. Products should be in the trunk or bed of your vehicle, not in the passenger area.

You must stay in your vehicle with the windows rolled-up while staff members unload your items. If you need to communicate with staffers, you must wear a face covering.

Additional event information and a complete list of accepted materials can be found on the Twin Oaks Landfill website.

 


About the Blogger Carolina Ask is in her third year with the city and her first as the environmental compliance and recycling manager. She previously served as an engineering program specialist and environmental inspector. Caroline previously held environmental health positions at Texas A&M and Houston’s Texas Children’s Hospital. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Bioenvironmental Sciences from A&M in 2012.


  If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!