Posts tagged “economic development

Choose to Shop College Station this holiday season

By Aubrey Nettles, Economic Development Manager

An annual rite of the holiday season is the hustle and bustle of busy shoppers searching stores for the perfect gift. The shops are festively decorated, and smiles abound as the joy of the season overwhelms our senses. 

Holiday shopping may look different this year, but those ideal gifts remain in abundance. In fact, with many businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, shopping in College Station is more vital than ever. 

You have friends, family members, and neighbors who own or operate — or are employed by — these businesses. Our entire community needs them to stay afloat.

Local shopping also generates sales taxes, a portion of which goes directly back to your community to fund essential government services such as the police, fire, and parks departments. More than 30% of the City of College Station’s annual revenue comes from sales tax revenue. When local sales are strong, we rely less on other revenue sources, which benefits us all.

Holiday shopping has traditionally been the most critical time of year for countless businesses since it generates their annual sales peak. This year, many are just trying to survive until the pandemic passes, and normal life resumes.

You can help by choosing to shop in College Station.

Local businesses have implemented extensive precautions to ensure the safety of their customers and employees. Some retailers have started Black Friday-type savings events early to avoid a rush of shoppers the day after Thanksgiving. Others allow you to order online and pick-up at the store, with many offering a curbside option.

Some even have contactless home delivery options for College Station and Bryan residents. 

Local stores have installed ample safety measures such as plexiglass dividers at check out and multiple sanitizing stations. All are enforcing six-foot physical spacing and mandatory face coverings. 

 While the obligatory face coverings may conceal the broad smiles we typically share at Christmastime, they can’t hide the sparkle in shoppers’ eyes and the cheerful nature of the season.

 


About the Blogger

Aubrey Nettles is in her second year as the city’s Economic Development Manager. She also served four years as the special projects coordinator in the City Manager’s Office. Before coming to College Station, she was the executive assistant to the Fort Bend County Commission and was a management analyst for Harris County. A native of Smithville, Aubrey earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Houston in 2012 and a bachelor’s degree in communications from Texas A&M in 2010.  


 

 


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.


 

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Campaign aims to make CS a holiday destination

By Aubrey Nettles, Economic Development Manager

Many people see visions of festive winter wonderlands and Santa loading his sleigh at the North Pole when they think of Christmas.

That may be about to change.

Visit College Station, in partnership with Santa’s Wonderland, wants to make our community THE destination for holiday celebrations.

We are introducing Christmas in College Station, a series of holiday events and specials throughout the city. The goal is to attract visitors who stay overnight, providing a significant boost to our local economy. The partnership encourages Santa’s Wonderland visitors to extend their stay in College Station to enjoy festive events and cheerful specials.

More than 300,000 visitors from across the nation visit Santa’s Wonderland each year, and more are on the way thanks to a breathtaking expansion to what was already an unmatched holiday destination.

Making its debut in 2020 is Illuminations Ice Arena, the region’s premier outdoor ice skating venue. Guests can glide on a sheet of real ice surrounded by thousands of holiday lights under the bright Texas stars. Other new attractions include Santa’s Farm and a second Trail of Lights, walkable elements featuring family-friendly adventures, hand-crafted Texas light displays, tunnels, and even a live nativity scene.

And Christmas in College Station isn’t just for visitors — residents and area businesses can join in the fun, too!

HOLIDAY SPECIALS

We encourage College Station businesses to create a holiday special for a day, weekend, week, or entire season (Nov. 20-Dec. 31). What you do is up to you. The deadline to submit your holiday special is Monday, Nov. 2. Be sure to deck the halls of your establishment to create an ultimate Christmas experience!

PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES

Create unique photo booths for the public to capture the perfect holiday photo. The Arts Council of Brazos Valley will create a map highlighting the picture-perfect locations.

HOLIDAY ARTISAN MARKET VENDORS

If you’re an artisan or curator, reserve your spot at the Holiday Artisan Market at Century Square from noon-4 p.m. on Dec. 20. The registration fee is $25 and includes tables, chairs, linens, and signage. Spots are limited, so reserve yours today.

SANTA-CERTIFIED HOTELS

Do you have family or friends coming to town for the holidays and don’t have enough room at your place? Check out the deals at our Santa-Certified Hotels.

EVENTS

Christmas in College Station’s offerings include Howdy Holly-Days at Northgate, the Holiday Artisan Market at Century Square, the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra’s Holiday Pops concert, For King & Country’s A Drummer Boy Drive-In Live: “The Christmas Tour” at Reed Arena, the city’s traditional Christmas in the Park, and much more.

Are you planning a holiday event that will be open to the public? Add it to our campaign!

Stay updated on all the holiday events and specials at ChristmasInCS.com.


About the Blogger

Aubrey Nettles is in her second year as the city’s Economic Development Manager. She also served four years as the special projects coordinator in the City Manager’s Office. Before coming to College Station, she was the executive assistant to the Fort Bend County Commission and was a management analyst for Harris County. A native of Smithville, Aubrey earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Houston in 2012 and a bachelor’s degree in communications from Texas A&M in 2010.  






 


Video: Small business bridge loan program

The City of College Station and the Bryan Business Council partnered with the Brazos Valley Council of Governments in April to create a Bridge Loan Program to assist small businesses that have seen a substantial reduction in revenue due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Small businesses need short-term working capital to cover essential expenses such as payroll, rent, and utilities.

– Public Communications Office

 


Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (May 28)

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular teleconference meetings on Thursday, May 28. It’s not the official minutes.

The live audio is streamed 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 998 0711 3729. 

6:39 p.m.

The workshop has started. 

6:48 p.m.

City to create tourism office

The council voted unanimously to terminate the city’s funding agreement with Experience Bryan-College effective Aug. 1. The city will incorporate tourism into its economic development and recovery strategies by launching a new internal operation focused on the hospitality industry.

6:52 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

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

  • Credit Card Processing: The council will consider approving Renewal No. 1 and Amendment No. 2 for an estimated expenditure of $240,000 with Global Payments Direct for merchant card and credit card payment processing services.
  • Tenant-Based Rental Assistance: The council will consider guidelines to assist households unable to pay rent due to the COVID-19 disaster declarations. The guidelines will reprogram $475,000 in existing federal grants.
  • Impact Fee Semi-Annual Report: The Impact Fee Semi-Annual Report is provided to the council in accordance with state law. The City of College Station adopted system-wide impact fees for water, wastewater, and roadways in 2016.
  • Former Police Station: The city has negotiated a three-year, $1.02 million lease of the old police station at 2611 Texas Avenue to International Leadership of Texas.

7:20 p.m.

Proposed FY 20 Bond Issuance

The council voted unanimously to direct staff to proceed with reduced parameters for the proposed FY 20 bond issuance based on existing economic conditions. The certificates of obligation will be presented for the council’s consideration on June 11.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

7:38 p.m.

Incentives Compliance Report

The council voted unanimously to accept the 2019 Incentive Compliance Report by the Brazos Valley Economic Development Corporation.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

7:43 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.

7:57 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

8:06 p.m.

Hear Visitors

One person spoke during hear visitors, when citizens may address the council on any item that does not appear on the posted agenda.

  • David Flash spoke about a complaint he filed on Feb. 2 with the College Station Police Department. He said the complaint has still not been answered and asked the council to encourage the new police chief to complete the investigation.

8:11 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda. Citizen Richard Woodward gave a presentation on the impact fee item:

  • The second reading of a franchise agreement with Howdy Disposal for the collection of demolition and construction debris, recyclables, and organic waste from commercial, industrial and multifamily locations.
  • Renewal No. 1 and Amendment No. 2 for an estimated $240,000 with Global Payments Direct for merchant card and credit card payment processing services.
  • Tenant-Based Rental Assistance guidelines to assist with rental assistance for College Station households affected by the COVID-19 disaster declarations.
  • The first renewal of an annual electric system construction and maintenance labor contract not to exceed $750,000 with H&B Contractors.
  • The semi-annual report on systemwide water, wastewater, and roadway impact fees.
  • The BVWACS annual operation and maintenance and capital budget.
  • An amendment to the contract with Emergicon.
  • A three-year, $1.02 million lease of the old police station building on Texas Avenue to International Leadership of Texas.
  • An advance funding agreement of $35,525 with the Texas Department of Transportation for the city’s contribution for signal improvements for the intersection of George Bush Drive and Dexter Drive.
  • An advance funding agreement of $323,345 with the Texas Department of Transportation for the city’s contribution for signal improvements that are part of the FM 2818 widening project.

8:15 p.m.

Creekside PUE Abandonment

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to abandon a 0.15-acre portion of a 20-foot public utility easement in the Creekside Subdivision Phase 1.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

8:18 p.m.

Masfajitas PUE Abandonment

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to abandon a 2-foot wide portion of a public utility easement in the the Horse Haven Estates to accommodate a Masfajitas restaurant.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

8:23 p.m.

Dowling Road Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve a request to change the zoning from Rural, Office, and Light Commercial to General Commercial for about 15 acres at 95 North Dowling Road B, 101 North Dowling Road A & B, 103 North Dowling Road, and 107 North Dowling Road.

The change better fits the Comprehensive Plan’s designation for more intense uses.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

8:24 p.m.

Disaster Declaration Extension

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

8:28 p.m.

Standard of Care Ordinance

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to adopt standards of care for the Parks and Recreation Department’s elementary-age youth recreational program.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

10:59 p.m.

Short-Term Rental Ordinance

After a 2.5-hour discussion, the council decided to continue the consideration of short-term housing rental regulations at a future meeting.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

11:01 p.m.

After the council discussed future agenda items, Mayor Mooney adjourned the meeting. The council meets again by teleconference on Thursday, June 11.

 


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.


 

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City creates program to aid local small businesses

By Debbie Eller, Director of Community Development

While the COVID-19 outbreak has arrived with a high human cost, it’s increasingly evident that the economic impacts could be substantial as well. In response, the City of College Station has created an Economic Assistance Grant Program for our small businesses with low-to-moderate income employees.

The city council unanimously approved the program’s guidelines as part of a special Monday afternoon teleconference meeting.

Funded with almost $300,000 in CDBG Economic Development Funds, the program could help prevent job losses for employees with families in the low-to-moderate household income range, such as a family of four that earns under $54,800 a year. In the long term, the program could also contribute to job creation or enable businesses to reach their pre-disaster employment numbers.

Grants of up to $40,000 will be available, based on the number of employees. Businesses need to provide information regarding their business before and after implementation of the COVID-19 declarations, including financial documents, employee information, and their willingness to comply with local, state, and federal requirements. 

To apply, click the link below, register as a vendor, and download the required documents. After you log-in, click on Current Bids and the Eco Assistance Grant link, where you can upload the documents.

New applications are reviewed and funds awarded each week, and each entity may receive only one grant. We expect the requests to outpace the available funds.

Funds will be disbursed in four installments, with the first distributed after the agreement is executed. Subsequent payments will be made following the submission of payroll documentation showing that the funding has helped retained job funding. 

For more information, email me at deller@cstx.gov.

 


About the Blogger

Community Services Coordinator Debbie Eller is in her 21st year with the City of College Station. She has led the Community Services Department since 2010. A native of Fort Worth, Debbie earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Texas A&M in 1984.


 

 

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