Economic and Community Development

Podcast: Real talk about Gringo’s and Buc-ee’s

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

College Station Economic Development Director Natalie Ruiz and I had a jaunty (thanks, thesaurus!) podcast discussion this week about some businesses either recently on the ground or that we at least have a really good shot at.

But we also talked about one that appeared to be a sure thing until it wasn’t: Gringo’s.

Others topics we cover:

  • How genuine the interest is from Buc-ee’s in a College Station location vs. Nat’s own wishful thinking?
  • Why does it matter so much that the extensions to Lakeway Drive and Pebble Creek Parkway are now open? (Hint: Midtown)

For those brave enough to sample the video version of this episode, we apologize profusely for obscuring Nat’s face with the new microphone. A partial Nat eclipse is definitely visible to the naked eye.

 


About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his 10th 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!

 


Podcast: How Krispy Kreme finally came to town

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

Like BBQ, burgers, tacos — or any other food type you can think of — donuts are a pretty personal thing for people. College Station has a variety of options, all with loyal followings.

But long-suffering fans of Krispy Kreme can finally rejoice: The red light of happiness is in Aggieland.

Franchisee Brian Davis doesn’t have the typical connection with College Station or with Texas A&M University. He talked to us about why he chose College Station, why the Harvey Road location was actually his second choice, how it takes nearly 100 people to operate a single location, and how he plans on giving back to a community that he’s only spent limited time in.

Enjoy this first episode of All Up In Your Business!


About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his 10th 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!


Podcast: Is This a Thing? (Episode 10)

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

In this episode of “Is This A Thing?” we share Economic Development Director Natalie Ruiz’s recent presentation to the Economic Outlook Conference, which recapped market trends and successes from 2018, along with a look ahead through 2019 and into 2020.

Natalie then took a deeper dive into the city’s emerging Midtown Business Park and why that entire area of College Station is so important to the city’s future. (more…)


Small Business Saturday focuses on entrepreneurship

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

When our family’s business closed its doors in 1987, it ended more than six decades of serving families in our small, West Texas town — and families in many of the towns around it.

So, maybe it’s in my DNA to shop and dine at mom-and-pop establishments — even when online or big-brand storefronts might save me a few bucks.

That’s what Small Business Saturday (Nov. 24) is all about. While we appreciate all the businesses that operate in College Station, Small Business Saturday allows us to place additional focus on the entrepreneurs who took tremendous personal risks to invest here and compete in an incredibly tough retail, dining and services landscape.

If you happen to own one of these small businesses, let us hear from you in the days leading up to Small Business Saturday by tweeting at us (@CityofCS) with your business name and what it offers. Be sure to include the hashtag #ShopSmallCS.

Including small businesses, like the one my family operated for 60+ years, in your shopping and dining habits is a great way to support our community. And there’s no better time to start than after Black Friday (Nov. 23) and before Cyber Monday (Nov. 26).

Thank you, small businesses, for investing in us. Let’s all commit to investing more in you.

 


About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his 10th 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!

 


Is This A Thing? Live from The Stella Hotel

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

This episode of “Is This a Thing?” was taped Sept. 17 in front of a live audience and featured College Station Economic Development Director Natalie Ruiz, Bryan Economic Development Manager Todd McDaniel, and Brazos Valley Economic Development Corporation Chair-Elect Bobby Gutierrez.

Total run time: 50:31

  • 00:00 — Message to live audience.
  • 01:05 — Show open and introductions.
  • 03:06 — Ruiz on whether or not the time of year affects the ability to succeed at economic development.
  • 05:15 — McDaniel on how Bryan is prepared to tackle the redevelopment of Texas Avenue between Villa Maria Road and downtown.
  • 08:56 — Gutierrez on what the EDC’s role is in complementing the work performed by College Station and Bryan.
  • 12:28 — Ruiz on the importance of sales tax revenues and how online and brick-and-mortar retailers are joining forces.
  • 16:30 — McDaniel on the changes we can expect in the proximity of the future super park development at the former Bryan Golf Course site.
  • 20:35 — Gutierrez offers to answer the question McDaniel was asked about the super park area.
  • 24:33 — McDaniel on what BCS needs to attract more jobs and industry.
  • 26:00 — Ruiz adds to the perspective.
  • 26:51 — Gutierrez chimes in on the same topic.
  • 29:12 — Gutierrez answers an audience question: What types of industry are you trying to recruit?
  • 31:14 — Ruiz answers an audience question: What’s being done about the ever-emerging multifamily developments?
  • 33:08 — Gutierrez answers from a Bryan Planning & Zoning Commission perspective.
  • 35:01 — McDaniel adds perspective from a City of Bryan standpoint.
  • 36:35 — Audience question: Gutierrez talks about addressing growth and needs in surrounding communities.
  • 39:36 — Audience question: How do nonprofits fit into your planning and economic development work?
  • 41:07 — Gutierrez addresses how nonprofits fit into that work.
  • 44:03 — Audience question: Plans for Highway 6?
  • 45:33 — Natalie adds the College Station perspective on Highway 6.
  • 46:54 — Gutierrez gives Bryan P&Z perspective on development along major corridors.
  • 49:48 — Show wrap-up.

 

 


About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his 10th 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!


SeeClickFix remains a valuable reporting tool

By Julie Caler, Code Enforcement Supervisor

See. Click. Fix.

It’s as easy as that for citizens to report code enforcement, public works, and other non-emergency issues to the City of College Station.

The online application allows anyone with internet access to report and easily track updates to their concerns.  It empowers you and your local government to take care of and improve our neighborhoods in a tangible and meaningful way.

SeeClickFix can be accessed through desktop computers, smartphones or other mobile devices. Better yet, it’s simple to use and creates a higher level of accountability through timely communication between you and your city.

How do you use it?

The most popular way to use SeeClickFix is with a smartphone or tablet. Mobile devices make it easy to take and submit photos, which help city staff quickly identify problems and determine how to resolve them as efficiently as possible. Go to your device’s app store for a free download. The system can also be accessed through the city’s mobile-friendly website.

Pinning or entering an exact address will help staff locate and resolve the issue in a timelier manner.  Remember, pictures say a thousand words so whenever possible, please provide a picture of your concern.  If you have specific questions, call Code Enforcement at 979-764-6363, and we will be happy to answer your questions.

In addition, problems phoned into Code Enforcement are entered into SeeClickFix, which allows us to count the numbers and types of reported cases accurately.

How does it work?

SeeClickFix incorporates code enforcement, public works, parks and even outside agencies such as the Texas Department of Transportation to address the issues you report. While code enforcement is the clearinghouse for SeeClickFix, we ensure the proper agency addresses your specific issue.

Sometimes we receive updates, and sometimes we don’t.  But we can always provide you with direct contact information if you have specific questions for that agency.

SeeClickFix is not a social media site but an online reporting work order system. That means posting personal information or vulgar or inappropriate language will cause your post to be flagged and removed.

Who responds and how?

The type of concern reported determines who responds. While most issues are directed to code enforcement, not all issues are code related. Most potholes, street lights/sign issues are sent to either Public Works or TxDOT, depending on the location. Issues concerning parks are sent to the Parks and Recreation Department and so on.

Each agency has procedures for responding to concerns on SCF, and while we may get updates from some agencies, we don’t get updates from them all.

Code Enforcement will respond to issues that are possible code violations. An officer will investigate, and if a violation is found, the officer will proceed with a code case in our tracking system.

Some cases take longer than others to resolve, such as junk vehicles or weeds and grass, but a typical case is resolved within 10 days.

SeeClickFix isn’t 911

SeeClickFix isn’t monitored 24/7, so don’t report public safety concerns such as suspicious persons, robberies, threats to life, etc. on. Always call 911 when a real emergency exists.

SeeClickFix has proven to be a valuable tool for our citizens and has helped the city become more efficient and effective at resolving everyday issues. We hope you will continue to use it when you see something that needs to be addressed.

Just go to seeclickfix.com/college-station to report an issue.

Keep seeing and clicking, and we’ll keep fixing!

 


0000018EPAbout the Blogger

Code Enforcement Supervisor Julie Caler has been with the City of College Station for almost two decades.


 

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