Throughout the year, Community Impact has covered multiple local issues concerning government, education, healthcare, transportation and more..
The funding consists of $23.05 million from the city's General Mobility Program agreement with METRO and $10.47 million from cash funds.March: Katy's historic J.V. Cardiff & Sons Rice Dryer begins next chapter with new ownerAfter being unmaintained for 26 years, the J.V. Cardiff & Sons Rice Dryer--one of three rice dryers in Katy city limits located on Hwy.
90--is about to see a second life.In late 2020, developer Hadi 'Andrew' Nurcahya bought the property from an Austin-based developer. Many business owners also noted in a March survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas that the Russia-Ukraine conflict has added to their supply chain issues.MayCity of Katy parks master plan aims to connect community, residentsThe city of Katy is in the midst of a collaborative effort to construct its parks, trails and recreation master plan.
The plan will build on several ongoing parks projects that aim to connect the community and improve the quality of Katy's parks system, city officials said.Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Browne, who took on the role in July 2021, said the parks master plan is the second-highest priority for Katy City Council this year, second to the comprehensive plan that will construct a plan for city's next two decades.Local agencies respond to rising opioid overdosesOpioid overdose deaths have risen in Texas since the pandemic began in 2020, but officials with Fort Bend and Harris counties said initiatives have been implemented during the pandemic to help prevent a dramatic increase in opioid-related deaths.According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an opioid is defined as a class of drugs that includes heroin; synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl; and prescription pain relievers, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine and morphine.JuneLooming end of Medicaid unenrollment freeze sounds alarmsWhen the coronavirus pandemic emerged in March 2020, the U.S. government issued a requirement that states could no longer kick people off Medicaid during the public health emergency. The purpose was to prevent people on Medicaid--a government-run health care policy--from being left without insurance on short notice.That requirement is still in place two years later, but health care advocates in Texas and Houston said they are worried about what could happen when it ends and millions of people have their safety nets put into jeopardy.Increasing capacities: Katy-area hospitals expand to handle growing populationOfficials at Katy-area hospitals are recognizing a need to expand their facilities' space and services to keep up with Katy's growth.Between 2011-20, the six ZIP codes that make up Community Impact Newspaper's coverage area--77449, 77493, 77494, 77441, 77450 and 77094--saw a 57.31% population increase, from 246,673 to 388,036, according to U.S.
Census Bureau data. The Katy Area Economic Development Council expects the area to gain 31,185 more residents by 2025.July: Katy sees higher home prices in seller's marketKaty's housing landscape is marked by an increasing demand for new inventory, plateauing home prices and increasing interest rates, local experts said.Despite a challenging market skewed toward sellers, experts said the area remains a 'highly desirable' place to live due to the area's master-planned communities, schools and its proximity to major highways--such as the Katy Freeway, Westpark Tollway and Grand Parkway.AugustLocal food banks struggle to meet growing demand amid supply chain issues, inflationMore than two years after the coronavirus pandemic first hit the Greater Houston area in March 2020, food banks are still struggling to meet the growing demand for their services as volunteers are slow to return and donations become scarce.According to the U.S. Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey, 10.9% of residents in the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metro area reported being food scarce at the start of the pandemic between April 23-May 5, 2020.
Between Oct. 28-Nov. 9, 2020, local food scarcity peaked at 21.4% and has since fluctuated, dropping to 14.2% between June 1 through June 13.Lamar CISD moves toward November bond as student population continues to increaseTwo years after passing a bond in 2020, Lamar CISD is preparing a $956.29 million bond for the Nov.
8 ballot to keep pace with enrollment. Made of three propositions, the package will go to a board vote on Aug. 22, after press time.If passed, the bond will fund four elementary schools and a middle school, additions to all five high schools, a career and technical education center, renovations to Traylor Stadium, the construction of a second stadium, and new technology devices.September: Officials plan for long-term benefits of Fort Bend County EpiCenterUpon opening in summer 2023, the Fort Bend County EpiCenter will sit on 52 acres in Rosenberg, attracting visitors to the area for events from surrounding counties, officials said.Located in the heart of Fort Bend County along Hwy.
59 and Hwy. 36, County Judge KP George said he anticipates the EpiCenter will bring millions to the county over the next decade in the form of venue rentals, hotel stays, naming rights and a draw to new businesses in the surrounding area.OctoberHarris County voters to decide fate of $1.2B bond referendum funding roads, parks, public safety facilities on Nov. 8Harris County residents will vote on a $1.2 billion bond to fund public safety facilities, road maintenance and parks during the midterm elections Nov.
8.Voters can approve or reject three separate propositions: $100 million for public safety facilities; $900 million for roads, drainage and multimodal transportation; and $200 million for parks. Historically, the county has proposed road and park bonds every six to eight years, most recently an $848 million bond in 2015.Katy child care, early education centers tackle costs, staff issues as inflation continues to riseKaty's continued development and inflation have created increases in costs of child care, while early education centers balance staffing shortages and retention efforts that arose from the coronavirus pandemic.According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, child care is considered unaffordable if it requires over 7% of a family's income.
As of October 2020, the typical Texas family was paying 15.7% of its income for infant care for one child, according to the Economic Policy Institute. By this standard, 15.8% of families could afford infant care.NovemberReport shows high rates of subsidence in Katy, city continues to sink two centimeters every yearA University of Houston geological study released in August tracked land deformation in Houston's growing suburbs from 2016-21. The results show the Katy area has some of the most significant land displacement of all surrounding suburbs, sinking roughly 2 centimeters per year.This gradual, vertical decline of Katy's surface is known as subsidence, or the sinking of the land due to movement beneath the earth's surface.
Katy's sinking is chiefly caused by pumping water from underground reserves, which compacts sublayers of clay and silt in aquifers beneath the Earth's surface, according to the UH study.Community colleges await possible state funding changes from the 88th Texas legislative sessionCommunity colleges across the state, including the Houston Community College System, may see a change in how they receive state funding in the coming years.Going into the 88th Texas legislative session in 2023, the state may shift from focusing on enrollment to student outcomes in determining funding for colleges.