Brazoria County has a lot more than consuming Olive Garden breadsticks to look forward to in 2020.
The Italian restaurant chain, whose arrival seemingly has been rumored in these parts since the time of Stephen F. Austin himself, is just one of several high-profile retail businesses and restaurants — both local and national — considering setting up shop in central and southern Brazoria County. They will serve the important function of keeping dollars that now head out of town here at home.
The biggest private investments, however, are expected to continue in our industrial sector. Two more liquefaction trains are scheduled to come online at Freeport LNG in 2020, and the Phillips 66 Sweeny Hub is in line for expansion. Work to expand the Velasco Container Terminal is underway at Port Freeport, and the separate Freeport Harbor Channel Project, which will widen and deepen the channel, continues to progress.
Local municipalities announced plans for major infrastructure improvements in the year ahead, with Clute, Freeport, Richwood, Brazoria, Angleton and other communities all having street and drainage projects in the works.
Construction equipment also is in use at area schools with all five southern Brazoria County districts having bond-funded initiatives that will either move ahead or be completed this year. Danbury ISD will have a new elementary school, Brazosport ISD will have the first projects from its new bond program done by next school year, Columbia-Brazoria ISD is expanding West Brazos Junior High to accommodate sixth-graders, Sweeny ISD’s $28 million bond plans already have moved forward and Angleton ISD’s recently approved measure should start seeing action in the coming months.
Brazoria County has benefited for almost 15 years now from a strong economy rooted in the forward vision of its elected leadership and industrial community. The housing market remains red-hot and more companies are finding our area a profitable place to do business. We all have benefited from the carefully crafted balance between being accommodating to commerce and meeting the needs of residents.
As we said recently when Olin Corp. announced it would be closing two local plants, we cannot count on the superheated expansion to continue forever, but based on the announcements we have heard, we can expect another good year of growth in 2020.
This editorial was written by Michael Morris, managing editor of The Facts.