Sugar Land - Missouri City Edition | May 2021

SUGAR LAND MISSOURI CITY EDITION

VOLUME 8, ISSUE 9  MAY 5JUNE 8, 2021

ONLINE AT

PLAY BALL

IMPACTS

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The Sugar Land Skeeters will play its opener May 20 as the Houston Astros’ Triple-A aliate. This comes 14 years after the city rst envisioned having a minor league team in Sugar Land and after eight seasons of Atlantic League baseball at Constellation Field.

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The Skeeters play its rst season as the Houston Astros’

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TODO LIST

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Sugar Land identies Constellation Field as one of ve entertainment venues it wants to construct.

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Fort Bend ISD to avoid tax rate increase

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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sugar Land Skeeters form the Constellation Energy League.

The Sugar Land Skeeters play its rst season at Constellation Field as part of the Atlantic League.

Triple-A aliate.

Sugar Land Skeeters’ first season as Astros’ Triple-A affiliate expected to boost local economy

INSIDE 16 SOURCE: SUGAR LAND SKEETERS, CITY OF SUGAR LANDCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

EDUCATION

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‘What does Sugar Landwant to bewhen it grows up?’ City ocials plan path to redevelopment

NACS &RACS

There are ve Regional Activity Centers and nine Neighborhood Activity Centers in Sugar Land.

Neighborhood Activity Centers

CONSTELLATION FIELD

Regional Activity Centers (RACs) are designed to draw in visitors from other cities. (NACs) are created to serve the surrounding neighborhoods.

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BY LAURA AEBI

GOVERNMENT

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pedestrian-friendly areas. Three years after Sugar Land City Council passed an updated land use plan, the city hired the rm to assess the processes for regulating these mixed-use spaces. Dubbed regional activity centers and neighborhood activity cen- ters in that plan, Clarion will rec- ommend from the perspective of

The Sugar Land Planning and Zoning Commission is awaiting regulation recommendations that could shape the future of the city’s more popular pedestrian spaces. In March, the commission met with Clarion Associates, a rm focused on redevelopment, to break down the goals and needs of the future of Sugar Land’s

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SOURCE: CITY OF SUGAR LAND COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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BUSINESS FEATURE

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and trust use.

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Getting Your ANNUAL MAMMOGRAM Is Still Important

Early Detection Saves Lives We know balancing life may be challenging right now, but getting your annual mammogram is still a priority — especially since early detection saves lives. At Houston Methodist Breast Care Center at Sugar Land, our specialists recommend women get an annual mammogram starting at age 40 — or younger, if you have a family history to help detect changes earlier.

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HOUSTON METHODIST BREAST CARE CENTER AT SUGAR LAND

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Our Breast Care Center offers:

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• The latest diagnostic technology: 3D mammograms, breast ultrasound and breast MRIs • Board-certified breast imaging radiologists • Acceptance of most major insurance plans • Enhanced safety measures to keep patients safe during the COVID-19 pandemic

Visit houstonmethodist.org/breast-care-sl or call 281.274.7170 to schedule your mammogram today. We do not require a doctor’s order for your annual screening mammogram.

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In an effort to address not only convenience but cost as well, Next Level Urgent Care has launched new formats that promise to make health care easier to obtain. Working with area employers, Next Level now has an “unlimited care” membership that allows employees to receive care 7 days per week at any of our multiple locations in the Greater Houston area for no out of pocket cost to the patient. Whether an employer is interested in providing a basic urgent care membership to supplement the plans they already provide, or a package that includes all levels of basic care including preventive care and primary care, Next Level has a program that is right for any business.

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SUGAR LAND - MISSOURI CITY EDITION • MAY 2021

A stroke could have changed Charlie’s world. We made sure it didn’t.

For the patient or the caregiver, stroke is a nightmare. And too often, the outcome is thought to be a foregone conclusion. But it’s also a condition where the decision on where to go can determine the long-term impact. That’s where St. Luke’s Health comes in, with its Comprehensive Stroke Centers. Learn more at StLukesHealth.org/stroke . Because together, we can change a foregone conclusion. We have a teamwith the skills and experience to change the course and the outcome of a stroke.

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THIS ISSUE

ABOUT US

Owners John and Jennifer Garrett launched the rst edition of Community Impact Newspaper in 2005 with three full-time employees covering Round Rock and Pugerville, Texas. We have expanded our operations to include hundreds of employees, our own printing operation and over 30 hyperlocal editions across three states. Our circulation is over 2 million residential mailboxes, and it grows each month with new residents and developments.

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

FROMAMY: Summer is approaching, and to kick it o, we are talking about America’s favorite pastime and taking a look at the changes in the Sugar Land Skeeters organization and what fans can expect this season. Not a baseball fan? Don’t worry—just head to page 8 for a to-do list of local events. Amy Martinez, GENERALMANAGER

Community Impact Newspaper teams include general managers, editors, reporters, graphic designers, sales account executives and sales support, all immersed and invested in the communities they serve. Our mission is to build communities of informed citizens and thriving businesses through the collaboration of a passionate team. Our core values are Faith, Passion, Quality, Innovation and Integrity.

FROMLAURA: For our May issue, we broke down some of the nitty-gritty planning and zoning updates that could shape Sugar Land’s future—aecting major local hubs, such as Sugar Land Town Square, Constellation Field and the Sugar Land Smart Financial Centre. Laura Aebi, EDITOR

Our purpose is to be a light for our readers, customers, partners and each other.

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MARKET TEAM GENERAL MANAGER Amy Martinez EDITOR Laura Aebi REPORTER Claire Shoop GRAPHIC DESIGNER Chase Brooks ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Amanda Feldott METRO LEADERSHIP PUBLISHER Jason Culpepper ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Kristina Shackelford MANAGING EDITOR Marie Leonard ART PRODUCTIONMANAGER Kaitlin Schmidt CORPORATE LEADERSHIP GROUP PUBLISHER Traci Rodriguez EXECUTIVE EDITOR Joe Warner CREATIVE DIRECTOR Derek Sullivan SALES &MARKETING DIRECTOR Tess Coverman CONTACT US

BUSINESS &DINING Local business development news that aects you

TRANSPORTATION &DEVELOPMENT Regular updates on area projects to keep you in the know

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SUGAR LAND  MISSOURI CITY EDITION • MAY 2021

IMPACTS

Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon, relocating or expanding

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sity Blvd., Ste. 130, Sugar Land. Led by Dr. Faheem Inayatali, the practice oers optometry services such as routine exams as well as treatment for eye diseases and other causes of dry and itchy eyes. 281-800-9050. www.dryeyespecialty.com 6 Kinghaven Counseling Group is now providing mental health services at 3425 S. Hwy. 6, Ste. 103, Sugar Land. The practice—which opened in mid- March—oers a variety of psychiatric and psychological care programs including those focused on families, seniors, vet- erans, substance abuse and individuals with autism. Kinghaven Counseling Group has several locations in the Houston and Dallas areas. 713-457-4372. www.kinghavencounseling.com 7 Houston-based Vivaldi Music Acad- emy opened its fourth location at Sugar Land Town Square on Jan. 4. The music school, located at 2115 Lone Star Drive, Sugar Land, is led by violinist Zeljko Pavlovic, who regularly plays with the Houston Symphony, according to a press release. Vivaldi Music Academy oers private lessons for students ages four and older on piano, guitar, drum, cello, viola, violin, ute, clarinet, drum and voice. Early childhood music classes, group gui- tar classes, and children’s choir are also available. 346-330-2646. www.vivaldimusicacademy.com 8 Newmark Homes opened the rst model house in a new model home park in Missouri City’s Sienna master-planned community at 1923 Regal Water Drive, Missouri City. According to a press release, the opening of the model home park, which will feature nine homes from a variety of builders, in early April signals the halfway mark for development of the

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SIENNA CROSSING

NOWOPEN 1 Crawsh Bistro held a grand opening April 24 at 9340 Hwy. 6, Ste. 100, Mis- souri City. The restaurant’s fresh seafood oerings are infused with both Cajun and Vietnamese avors. Menu items include boiled seafood, po boys, a Vietnamese Sandwich and noodles. 832-440-0013. www.crawshbistro.com 2 Dunkin’ opened a new location at 6231 Hwy. 6, Missouri City, on April 19. The global chain serves a variety of coee bev- erages as well as doughnuts, bagels and

breakfast sandwiches. The new Missouri City restaurant is known as a Next Gen location and features eight cold beverag- es on tap and uses espresso machines to create hand-crafted drinks. Missouri City’s Dunkin’ is planning a May 8 grand opening celebration. www.dunkindonuts.com 3 Torchy’s Tacos’ newest restaurant opened at 11327 Current Lane, Staord on April 28. Torchy’s Tacos serves a variety of unique taco oerings alongside chips and queso, street corn, guacamole and salsa. The Austin-based brand has 87 lo- cations nationwide, including 18 others in

the Houston area and one in Sugar Land. 281-557-6060. www.torchystacos.com 4 Gong Cha , a Taiwanese-style drink franchise, began a soft opening for a new Missouri City location on April 26. Locat- ed at 4899 Hwy. 6, Ste. 107C, Missouri City in the Tang City Plaza development, the business is best known for its pearl milk tea, or bubble tea. With locations in several countries in Southeast Asia, Gong Cha also oers slushes, teas and coees. 832-539-1887. www.gongchausa.com 5 Dry Eye & Specialty Center held a grand opening April 22 at 13440 Univer-

    

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

COMPILED BY CLAIRE SHOOP

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Costco Business Centers feature dierent products than a traditional Costco store.

COURTESY COSTCO WHOLESALE

FEATURED IMPACT COMING SOON A Costco Business Center will serve as an anchor tenant for The Grid mixed- use development in Staord, according to a joint press release from StreetLevel Investments and Provident Realty Advisors. Costco Wholesale Corporation purchased 13 acres near the intersection of Hwy. 59 and Kirkwood Road for the 148,000-square-foot store, which is currently under construction. This will be the rst Costco Business Center in Houston, according to the release. With only about 15 stores nationwide, Costco Business Centers vary from traditional Costco Wholesale stores in that they largely feature dierent products, such as commercial appliances, individually wrapped snacks and an expanded selection of drinks, according to the retailer. Costco Business Centers typically do not feature clothing, books and sporting goods, nor do they usually have on-site pharmacies, liquor stores or eye care centers. However, Costco Business Centers are open to any Costco member. “We are excited to welcome Costco Business to the Grid and the City of NEWOWNERSHIP 16 Virtus Real Estate Capital acquired Sugar Creek Health Center from Norvin Healthcare Properties earlier this year. Located at 14815-14897 Hwy. 59 near Central Drive, Sugar Creek Health Cen- ter is a three-building, approximately 90,000-square-foot medical oce com- plex with tenants who provide outpatient surgery, imaging, orthopedics, women’s

Staord,” Staord Mayor Cecil Willis said in the release. “This is a great addition for our residents and will wonderfully complement our growing businesses. This is just another opportunity that is helping the Grid to redene the future of Staord.” The Grid development now includes two apartment communities along with restaurants and other retailers. “Costco is the forward-looking and nimble retailer we’ve been seeking in an anchor tenant, bringing a national reputation for its innovative retail strategy,” said Adam Schiller, managing principal at StreetLevel Investments, in the release. “We are thrilled Costco selected the Grid as the rst Houston location for its Business Center concept, and we look forward to a very successful grand opening.” www.costcobusinessdelivery.com

Newmark Homes

Balanced Foods

COURTESY NEWMARK HOMES

COURTESY BALANCED FOODS

Village of Sienna Oaks, Sienna’s second- to-last village. More than 750 new homes sold in Sienna last year, making it one of the nation’s top-selling communities, ac- cording to the release. www.siennatx.com 9 Papa John’s opened a new storefront in early April at 13582 University Blvd., Ste. 300, Sugar Land. The pizza chain of- fers original, thin and stued crust bases which can be topped with sauces, cheese, meats and vegetables, as well as a selec- tion of sides and desserts. Contactless delivery is available. 281-545-1212. www.papajohns.com COMING SOON 10 Crunch Fitness recently leased a space in the First Colony Commons shopping center at 15385 Hwy. 59, Sugar Land. The Sugar Land location, which is expected to open Oct. 1, will be the rst of eight planned for Fort Bend and Brazoria counties. The New York-based gym fran- chise oers group tness classes, weights and cardio machines. www.crunch.com 11 Balanced Foods is opening a location at 9101 Sienna Crossing Drive, Missouri City. Tentatively scheduled to open May 29, the business serves a wide variety of prepackaged meals and snacks such as breakfast tacos, stir fry, roasted vegetable dishes, wraps and salads. With one store- front in Magnolia, Balanced Foods aims to oer fresh and fast grab-and-go meals. City-wide delivery is available in Houston. www.balancedfoods.com 12 Karachi Ice Cream Parlor is opening at 11315 S. Hwy. 6, Ste. H, Sugar Land in May. The business will have the same

ownership as Karachi Restaurant. In addition to ice cream and shakes, the ice cream parlor will serve Pakistani desserts such as falooda, a cold dessert made with noodles; lassi, a yogurt-based drink; and kul, a frozen treat. www.karachi restaurantandicecreamparlor.com 13 Bahama Mama , a smoke shop, will open at 9720 Hwy. 6, Missouri City this summer. The store is set to carry tobacco and vaping products as well as CBD, wine and lottery tickets. RELOCATIONS 14 New Strength Pilates moved to a bigger studio at 4718 Riverstone Blvd., Ste. C, Missouri City. The business has been in Missouri City for 16 years, and was previously located at 4502 Riv- erstone Blvd., Ste. 102. New Strength Pilates works with doctors, physical therapists and trainers to provide private sessions and group classes that help clients become pain free. 281-216-6726. www.newstrengthpilates.com ANNIVERSARIES 15 The Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center is celebrating its fth anniversary in May. Located at 198 Kempner St., Sugar Land, in the Imperial Market development, the discovery center features a variety of innovative, hands-on activities and explorations for infants through children 12 years old. The Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center, which is aliated with Children’s Museum Houston, will open for the summer on June 8. 832-742-2800. www.childrensdiscovery.org

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health, dentistry and optometry. 512-891-1200. www.virtusre.com 17 Celebrity Title Company was acquired by Patten Title Company in late March. With a location at 1650 Hwy. 6, Ste. 160, Sugar Land, Celebrity Title specializes in title insurance, veries ownership of a property and assists throughout the closing process for real estate transactions. 281-240-2049. www.celebritytitle.com

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SUGAR LAND  MISSOURI CITY EDITION • MAY 2021

TODO LIST

May events

COMPILED BY CLAIRE SHOOP

08 MISSOURI CITY DRIVETHRU MOTHER’S DAY EVENT For the second year in a row, Missouri City moms will be honored during a drive-thru Mother’s Day event. While driving through the City Hall complex, families will be able to pick up a cake and decorating kit along with a Mother’s Day gift. Preregistration is required. 10 a.m.-noon. Free. 1522 Texas Parkway, Missouri City. 281-403-8533. www.missouricitytx.gov 22 MISSOURI CITY DAD &DAUGHTER DANCE The theme for this year’s Missouri City Dad & Daughter Dance is Boots & Bows. A limited number of tickets are available, and masks will be required when guests are not eating or drinking. 4-6 p.m. $20 (dad and daughter couple), $10 (per additional daughter). Community Center, 1522 Texas Parkway, Missouri City. 281-403-8637. www.missouricitytx.gov 22 ‘THE TASTE OF SUNRISE’ SHADOWPLAY Fort Bend Christian Academy is putting on a production of “The Taste of Sunrise” by Suzan Zeder. Performed in American Sign Language, the play centers around a deaf boy’s journey to discover deaf culture. 7 p.m. Free. Sugar Land Town Square, 15958 City Walk, Sugar Land. 281-263-9175. www.fortbendchristian.org

27 TRANSPORTATION& COMMITTEE UPDATE WITHU.S. REP. TROY NEHLS

MAY 04 THROUGH 22

The Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce will host rst-term U.S. Rep. Troy Nehls, R-Richmond, for a conversation about his seat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. This committee oversees all modes of transportation, as well as the nation’s emergency preparedness plan. In-person attendance will be limited, and face masks will be required. 8-9 a.m. $20 (member), $30 (prospective member), $500 (event sponsor). Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce, 445 Commerce Green Blvd., Sugar Land. 281-566-2163. www.fortbendchamber.com 28 ‘KNOWYOURRIGHTS: EVICTION INTHE TIMEOF COVID19’ Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, money has been tight for many Houston- area residents, and the threat of failing to pay rent and possible eviction has loomed large for many Sugar Land and Missouri City residents. This workshop, hosted by Fort Bend County Libraries, will educate members of the public about eviction laws and moratoriums and what tenants in this situation can expect. Registration required. 2-3 p.m. Free. Virtual. www.fortbend.lib.tx.us

MISSOURI CITY REC OLYMPICS The Missouri City Parks & Recreation Department is hosting its rst Rec Olympics throughout May. Residents can compete in a series of competitions including badminton, archery, tennis, indoor and outdoor pickleball, basketball, sand volleyball, table tennis and kickball. Registration is required. Competition dates, times, locations and costs vary. 281-403-8637. www.missouricitytx.gov 06 THE GRID&TEXAS LEGE 87WITH STATE REP. RON REYNOLDS Interested in legislative reforms stemming from Texas’ winter storm? State Rep. Ron Reynolds, D-Missouri City, will join the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce for a conversation on the Texas electric grid and updates from the 87th state legislative session underway in Austin. Reynolds is a member of the House Energy Resources Committee, which has purview over issues related to the Texas energy grid and energy conservation. Noon-1 p.m. $20 (member), $30 (prospective member), $500 (event sponsor). Virtual. 281-566-2152. www.fortbendchamber.com

Sugar Land Memorial Day ceremony (Courtesy city of Sugar Land) MEMORIAL DAY EVENTS MEMORIAL DAY TRIBUTEWITH MONARCH CHAMBER PLAYERS May 28 The Monarch Chamber Players will be performing patriotic music. 7:30-9 p.m. Free. Sugar Land Town Square, 15958 City Walk, Sugar Land. 409-241-0389. CITY OF SUGAR LAND MEMORIAL DAY CEREMONY May 31 The annual event will take place at Sugar Land Memorial Park. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Free. 15300 University Blvd., Sugar Land. 281-275-2825.

Find more or submit Sugar Land and Missouri City events at communityimpact.com/event-calendar. Event organizers can submit local events online to be considered for the print edition. Submitting details for consideration does not guarantee publication.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES Knight Road extension project stalled inMissouri City due to eminent domain

NEEDED FOR KNIGHT ROAD

To extend Knight Road so it connects from McKeever Road to the Fort Bend Parkway Toll Road, Missouri City needed to acquire 17 parcels of land. Here’s the status of each.

Acquired by the city Acquired for $65,000 from the Paces using eminent domain Eminent domain proceedings underway

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BY CLAIRE SHOOP

Missouri City still needs to acquire one more parcel of land before it can move forward with constructing a new segment of Knight Road, according to city ocials. Missouri City City Council approved the project to extend Knight Road so it connects from the Fort Bend Parkway Toll Road to McKeever Road in Missouri City in January 2020. At that time, council also autho- rized the city’s acquisition of 17 par- cels of land needed for the project. Of the 18 total land segments needed, the city previously owned one. Assistant City Attorney Joseph Quintal said the city was able to acquire 14 parcels without the use of eminent domain. During its March 15 meeting, City Council approved the city paying the property owners for two pieces of land needed for the same project.

The two land segments, both owned by William and Cynthia Pace, appraised for $64,702. The Paces countered with $121,356; however, prior to the required hearing, they agreed to settle for $65,000. “We believe that’s a fair amount and it is in conjunction with the appraised value of the land,” Quintal said. The city is in the process of ling an eminent domain lawsuit to obtain the one remaining parcel of land. City appraisers must evaluate how much the land is worth before an eminent domain hearing is scheduled. Once completed, the Knight Road extension will cost $8 million and will give residents in the Sienna area an additional route to Hwy. 6. Construction on the extension of Knight Road is anticipated to begin in fall 2021 and will likely last until spring 2022.

WATTS PLANTATION RD.

Knight Road near Fort Bend Parkway

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Knight Road near McKeever Road (Photos by Claire Shoop/Community Impact Newspaper)

MCKEEVER RD.

SOURCE: CITY OF MISSOURI CITYCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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SUGAR LAND  MISSOURI CITY EDITION • MAY 2021

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

Balancing the budget Fort Bend ISD will be able to use federal coronavirus relief funding to offset a perceived budget deficit necessary to implement student and staff supports in response to the pandemic. Because of this federal funding, the district will not need to increase the tax rate. Fort Bend ISD strategic priorities Fort Bend ISD revised its strategic priorities for the 2021-22 school year and divided them based on whether they were a part of the base budget or COVID-19 response.

EDUCATION FBISD to avoid tax rate increase following release of federal funds

BY CLAIRE SHOOP

schools, especially since we must adopt our annual budget by June,” Sherry Williams, FBISD’s director of external communications and media relations, said in a statement. “The funding would help FBISD finalize plans for student intervention pro- grams to address areas of need such as the COVID-19 academic slide and provide reimbursement for COVID-19 expenses incurred—including personal protective equipment, technology related to online learning, contact tracing and wellness monitors.” During an April budget presentation, Chief Financial Officer Bryan Guinn split FBISD’s general revenue budget into two categories: the base budget and pandemic response items. Guinn said the base budget is balanced using FBISD’s current tax rate of $1.2402. “If we were operating the district on an ongoing basis as we would in a normal year, our budget is balanced,” Guinn said. “We recognize that we are going to have additional [COVID-19] expenditures … and we’ve segmented those out so that the board can clearly see howwe are recommending to fund those options going forward." Pandemic response items—such as virtual school and contract trac- ing—were budgeted to cost FBISD $15.1 million in April. Before the funding was approved, FBISD was looking at a tax rate increase by considering a voter-ap- proval tax rate election, Guinn said. However, FBISD will instead be able to fund the $15.1 million of pandemic items using ESSER III funding, with

Although the Fort Bend ISD board of trustees approved a maximum tax rate of $1.2702 for the 2021-22 fiscal year—a $0.03 increase over the 2020-21 rate—during its April 19 meeting, federal funding released on April 28 has made the increase unnecessary, officials said. The district was originally eyeing a $0.03—or 2.42%—increase, which would have generated an additional $15.1 million for the district to fund FBISD’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The board approved the maximum tax rate prior to $11.2 billion in federal aid being allocated to Texas schools. The funds were allocated under the American Rescue Plan and are the third round of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funding. FBISD’s allocation of ESSER III fund- ing totals $94.7 million. Two-thirds of the funding—or $63.1 million—is immediately available to districts via TEA grants, while the remaining one-third will be released by the U.S. Department of Education later this spring, according to the TEA. Districts were able to apply for TEA grants beginning April 29. ESSER III funding can be used to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, including initiatives that address student learning loss as a result of COVID-19, according to the TEA. “Fort Bend ISD is pleased to learn that the state is making plans to release funds designated for public

PANDEMIC RESPONSE

BASE BUDGET

$36M TOTAL • Attract and retain teachers and staff: $32.2M • Early College High School and Pathways in Technology Early

$15.1M TOTAL • Teacher planning/ professional learning communities: $8.2M • Student interventions: $2.3M • Exceptions-based virtual learning school: $3.9M • Contact tracing: $700K

TOTAL $51.1M

College High School: $2M • Early Literacy

Center at Hunter’s Glen Elementary School: $1.8M

Federal COVID-19 funding for schools Fort Bend ISD is allocated $94.7 million of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funding under the 2021 American Rescue Plan. While the school district has until September 2024 to spend this money, a portion of it will be used in 2021-22 to pay for the $15.1 million of strategic priorities related to COVID-19.

TOTAL AMOUNT TO BE SPENT BY SEPTEMBER 2024

ALLOCATED TO FBISD: $94.7M

ALLOCATED TO TEXAS: $11.2B

To be made available by the U.S. Department of Education later this spring

$63.1M $15.1M Immediately available via the Texas Education Agency Current 2021-22 pandemic response items

$31.6M

SOURCES: FORT BEND ISD, TEXAS EDUCATION AGENCY/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

money remaining. Districts have until 2024 to use ESSER III funding. Additionally, Texas schools are anticipated to receive a total of $5.5 billion in ESSER II funds from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriation Act. FBISD had previously revised its

2021-22 budget to avoid an estimated $88 million deficit, which was first described during the March meeting. At that time, FBISD presented raising the tax rate by up to $0.11. The board will hold a budget hearing and set the budget in May before adopting the tax rate in August.

I N- STORE & ONL I NE MAY 3-8

*Mother's Day Gifts Sale runs 5/3/21-5/8/21. Valid on featured products. Sale items can be shopped in-store and online at www.twinliquors.com. Selection varies by store. Items and prices subject to change without notice. No further discount on Sale Items, Final Few, or Closeouts. Some exclusions apply. Please drink responsibly.

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11

SUGAR LAND - MISSOURI CITY EDITION • MAY 2021

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

GOVERNMENT Missouri City pays outmore than $250K in severance to CityManager Odis Jones

“I CERTAINLYDIDN’T SEE THIS COMING, BUT Y’ALLMADE THIS DECISION, ANDWHAT WE DO IN THIS PROFESSION IS RESPECT THE GOVERNING BODY’S DECISION.” ODIS JONES

BY CLAIRE SHOOP

and Emery voted against hiring him, while Maroulis abstained from voting. “He came in an environment that was kind of dicult to work in—split votes and divided council—and it was just kind of rocky, but as we stabilized through the November election, a new mayor and at-large council member, I felt as though it’s so important that City Council and the city managers have strong alignment,” Maroulis said. Former City Manager Anthony Snipes, who held the position prior to Jones until his termination in February 2020, said city managers understand they serve at the council’s will. Sgt. Jay McClellan, vice president of the Missouri City Police Association, said many members of the organiza- tion have expressed disappointment over Jones’ termination. “Mr. Jones has been a strong advo- cate for public safety since arriving in Missouri City,” McClellan said in an email. “Many members feel Mr. Jones was doing a good job leading the city.” Council members Edwards and Sterling expressed concern during the April 26 meeting about the nancial ramications of terminating Jones. Jones’ contract—which was negoti- ated by former Mayor Yolanda Ford— did not have a set end date. Due to this, Boney said the settlement would have to be paid regardless of when Jones was terminated. In an emailed statement, Ford said his contract closely resembled that of the three city managers before him. “Whether the city manager was terminated the day after he was hired or a year from now or two years from now, his contract would have called for him to be paid the same [sever- ance],” Boney said. Additionally, the contract states that Jones’ performance evaluations should be done in closed session and applicable documents should be considered condential, except as required by law. Jones said in the statement he will sue council members and the city if they make public comments related to his job performance that violate the contract. Missouri City ocials declined to comment on personnel matters. An amendment to Missouri City’s

Former Missouri City City Manager Odis Jones’ contract was terminated, eective immediately, on April 26 following a 5-2 vote from City Council. Mayor Robin Elackatt joined council members Anthony Maroulis, Lynn Clouser, Jerey Boney and Floyd Emery in voting to terminate Jones’ employment. Council members Vashaundra Edwards and Cheryl Sterling voted against the motion. Jones’ employment contract laid out a severance package to be paid on termination equal to a lump sum cash payment of 12 months aggregate salary—which includes his base salary, leave time accrued, the monthly amount paid for medical premiums and the monthly amount paid to the Texas Municipal Retirement System. According to the contract, Jones’ base pay is $250,000 annually. Boney said City Council’s goals for the city diered from those of Jones’. During City Council’s strategy-plan- ning retreat in March, Boney said council members identied a cohesive vision for Missouri City’s future. “Ideally when you have that alignment at the council level, you also want to have that alignment at the sta level, particularly with the CEO of your city and the person who’s kind of leading the way,” Boney said. “For me, it was just a matter of you have to have someone that you 100% are in alignment with, and that can help move the city forward.” Jones was terminated without cause, an action allowed for in his employment contract. In a statement, Jones said he could not be aligned with what he considers “unethical behavior,” citing an audit related to misuse of the city’s public, educational and government access channel funds, and council’s decisions not to change the city’s pay structure or adopt an ethics commission. “City managers must have the inter- nal fortitude and integrity to speak truth to power even when it costs you a job, but you maintain your integrity, and that’s what happened here,” Jones said in the statement. Jones was hired by a 4-2 split vote of council in July. At that time, Boney

Odis Jones became Missouri City’s eighth city manager eective July 20. His contract was terminated by City Council April 26. (Courtesy city of Missouri City)

TRACKING COUNCIL’S CITYMANAGERVOTES In the past 15 months, City Council has made three votes related to the ring and hiring of city managers. This table shows how the votes fell each time.

Voted to terminate Anthony Snipes’ employment

Voted to terminate Odis Jones’ employment Was voted o council in December

Council Member

Voted to hire Odis Jones

Mayor Yolanda Ford

Mayor Robin Elackatt

Was not yet elected to council

Was not yet elected to council

At-Large Position 1 Council Member Vashaundra Edwards At-Large Position 2 Council Member Chris Preston At-Large Position 2 Council Member Lynn Clouser District A City Council Member Cheryl Sterling District B City Council Member Jerey Boney District C City Council Member Anthony Maroulis District D City Council Member Floyd Emery

Was voted o council in December

Was not yet elected to council

Was not yet elected to council

Abstained from the vote

SOURCE: COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER REPORTING

charter on the May 1 ballot would require the city manager’s contract be approved by council, if passed. Snipes, who serves as vice president of the Missouri City Parks Foundation and works as regional director for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, said he will not apply for the role. Amajority of City Council appointed Bill Atkinson, Missouri City’s assistant

city manager, as interim city manager. Additionally, City Council approved the human resources department to put out a call for proposals from executive search rms that will aid the city’s search for a new city manager. Elackatt, Edwards, Clouser, Sterling and Emery had not responded to Community Impact Newspaper ’s request for comment as of press time.

13

SUGAR LAND  MISSOURI CITY EDITION • MAY 2021

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

HOME TEAMBEERS: 1 Knuckle Bock: With a name that resembles a knuckle ball, the German-style Texas bock is Texas Leaguer’s most popular beer statewide. 2 2 Hopper: While a two hopper describes a ball that takes two bounces before it is elded, the beer is made with two types of hops—El Dorado and Cascade—and is the brewery’s most popular beer in Fort Bend County. 3 Airmail: In baseball, an airmail is a elder’s too-high throw that ies past the rst base. At Texas Leaguer Brewing, this is a blonde, easy-drinking beer. 4 6-4-3: A Belgian beer, the 6-4-3 is named after a routine double play in which the batter grounds out to short.

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BUSINESS FEATURE

Texas Leaguer Brewing’s baseball theme is at the forefront of its beers’ labels and cans. (Photos by Claire Shoop/Community Impact Newspaper)

Texas Leaguer Brewing Baseball brewery boasts family-friendly fun F rom the game on the big screen in the taproom to themed beer names and can labels, Nathan BY CLAIRE SHOOP

think about, and everything we do, we do it big,” Elise said. “So since it was beer, since it was baseball, we were like, ‘Let’s do it.’” Currently, the taproom features a lineup of four “home side” and four “visitor side” beers. The home side—which includes the Airmail Blonde, 6-4-3 Belgian, Knuckle Bock and 2 Hopper IPA—are the brewery’s original beers. The visitor side—featuring the Chin Music Pale Ale, Leaguer Hazy IPA, Czech Swing Pilsner and Little Leaguer Root Beer— have alternating taps. Additionally, they release a new beer on tap every Friday. Nathan said the taproom recently added eight taps with the plan to expand beyond beer. “That’s really where the model is going. People want new beers. They want to walk in and say, ‘What do you have that’s new?’” Nathan said. “And

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“People are longing for the space right now,” Nathan said. “They want a place [to] sit outside and have a beer.” Nathan said they hosted crowds for the Astros’ recent World Series bids and were packed for baseball’s opening day April 1. “I think people have associated us with baseball,” Nathan said. “Baseball season is beer season.” Texas Leaguer Brewing 13503 Pike Road, Missouri City 832-895-9000 www.txleaguer.com Hours: Thu. 3-10 p.m., Fri.-Sat. noon-10 p.m., Sun. noon-6 p.m.

and Elise Rees fused their passions for baseball and beer when they opened Texas Leaguer Brewing. “To me, there’s nothing like watch- ing a ballgame with your dad,” said Nathan, a lifelong Houston Astros fan. “My boys love drinking our Little Leaguer Root Beer and watching the ball game together—that’s what we’re all about.” The Missouri City couple opened Texas Leaguer Brewing in September 2017. Nathan calls it the largest mom and pop brewery around. Elise said her appreciation for baseball has grown since marrying Nathan, and she feels the game brings people together. “Passion is one of our values we

Nathan and Elise Rees opened the establishment in 2017.

our brewers like that, too.” While Texas Leaguer Brewing started as a distributing brewery, the business has become more taproom focused since the pandemic, Nathan said. The business’s warehouse space, which features large bay doors that open outside as well as a patio section, has made it a safe place to gather, he said.

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SUGAR LAND  MISSOURI CITY EDITION • MAY 2021

ATTRACTING TOURISM In 2007, a citizen-led task force identified and proposed five entertainment venues it wanted in Sugar Land. The task force and city officials hoped venues would make Sugar Land a destination location—driving visitors and tourism and in turn increasing the city’s sales tax revenue. Of the five projects, three have been built.

CONTINUED FROM 1

1 Constellation Field: opened in 2012 2 Smart Financial Centre: opened in 2017 3 Crown Festival Park at Sugar Land: completed in 2016

4 Hotel & Convention Center: to be built on the 22 acres adjacent to the Smart Financial Centre 5 Cultural Arts Venue: planned for the same location as the Hotel & Conference Center; it will host local art and artists

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LEAGUE LEVELS Each of the 30 Major League Baseball teams has aliated Minor League Baseball teams, often called its farm system. These players are drafted by the major league team and are under contract with the major league team. The Sugar Land Skeeters will welcome fans to Constellation Field at the end of May for its first season as the Houston Astros' Triple-A affiliate. Minor League Baseball COMES TO SUGAR LAND

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SOURCE: CITY OF SUGAR LAND/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Skeeters’ aliationwithAstros in full-swing

BY CLAIRE SHOOP When the city of Sugar Land spearheaded the proj- ect to build Constellation Field in 2007, the end goal was to have a Minor League Baseball team play in the stadium one day. Now, 14 years later, the Sugar Land Skeeters will welcome fans back to Constellation Field in late May for the team’s 10th overall season and its first as the Houston Astros’ Triple-A affiliate. “It really just shows you the benefit of being bold and strategic and seeing a vision and investing in it to make it happen,” said Jennifer May, Sugar Land assis- tant city manager. “And so not only have we had 10 years of incrediblebaseball, but to cross that finish line to Triple-A is an incredible, incredible opportunity.” The Skeeters-Astros relationship is here to stay for the foreseeable future. Sugar Land City Council approved a lease extension with the Astros that will keep the Skeeters at Constellation Field through the 2045 season. This presence will better the fan experience at games, drive tourism and the local economy, and bring new development to the area surrounding Con- stellation Field, officials said. “Having a Triple-A franchise is a big deal in a com- munity, and having never had one here, people may not understand what that really means,” said Chris- topher Hill, former Sugar Land Skeeters president. “It means Sugar Land has a national footprint in the sports world and is now a significant portion of the baseball industry.” Swinging for the fences From 2012-19 the Sugar Land Skeeters played in the Atlantic League, an independent baseball league unaffiliatedwithMajor League Baseball. Then, during the 2020 season, the Atlantic League was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Skeeters formed its own four-team league called the Constel- lation Energy League. Although the Astros’ plans to acquire the Skeeters were announced in November, the agreement was finalized April 20. The Astros now havemajority own- ership of the team, and the Zlotnik family—which has owned the Skeeters since 2014—maintain minority ownership, according to a release from the team. While Constellation Field had long been desired to be home to a MiLB team, Hill said several things had to fall into place this year for the Skeeters to become the Astros’ Triple-A affiliate. “There were always lots of reasons why the

relationship couldn’t happen,” Hill said in a February interview. “Then, the planets all aligned, and it makes perfect sense for the Astros; it’s fantastic for us, and it’s great for the city of Sugar Land.” One reason the Skeeters were attractive to the Astros organization is proximity, Hill said. The Astros’ Minute Maid Park—located in downtown Houston—is 23 miles away, or about 40 minutes, from Constella- tion Field. Hill, who became the organization’s presi- dent in 2019, is no longer with the Sugar Land Skeeters as of April 23. The city of Sugar Land constructed Constellation Field in 2012 using funds set aside for economic devel- opment. Now, the city maintains ownership of the building, while the Astros have majority ownership of the team. In 2012, the stadium was built up to MiLB stan- dards, and it was always intended to host a MiLB team, said Elizabeth Huff, director of economic devel- opment for the city of Sugar Land. The stadium cost $36 million—$30 million from Sugar Land economic development funds and $6 million in private equity. Constellation Field was one of five venues identi- fied by a 2007 citizen-led Visioning Task Force. The task force set out to describe entertainment destina- tions Sugar Land should create to drive tourism and increase sales tax revenue, Huff said. Of the other sites identified, the Smart Financial Centre and Crown Festival Park have been built and are operational. However, a hotel and conference cen- ter and a cultural arts center on the land in front of the Smart Financial Centre have yet to be constructed. “At the end of the day, economic development is about bringing other people to your community to spend their dollars so that you don’t have to spend yours,” Huff said. “Whenever we can bring these types of amenities to the community, it’s going to bring sales tax as well … so that we can offset the bur- den on our citizens.” Huff saidwhen people come into the city for a base- ball game, the money they spend on concessions and merchandise at the stadium, along with staying in the city’s hotels and dining at restaurants, all generates sales tax revenue for the city. Now that the Skeeters are a part of the Astros organization, Hill said baseball enthusiasts will travel to watch them play. According to city documents, the direct and indi- rect community economic benefit of an independent baseball team is $7.7million annually. This is expected to increase with the Skeeters’ Triple-A status. Triple-A teams often host major league players who

Major League HOUSTON ASTROS

Major league teams can move players up and down throughout their system, including calling them up to the major league team.

Triple - A SUGARLAND SKEETERS

This is the level closest to the major league. It often features players with major league experience. Injured players often rehab at the Triple-A level.

Double - A CORPUS

CHRISTI HOOKS

Double-A is often seen as the entrance to the majors. Players often move from this level straight to the major league team.

Low - A FAYETTEVILLE WOODPECKERS High - A ASHEVILLE TOURISTS

Single-A baseball is split into High-A and Low-A teams. This level often consists of recent draft picks or younger players.

DID YOU KNOW?

Independent leagues, such as the Atlantic League and the American Association, are completely separate from Major League Baseball. The Skeeters played in the Atlantic League from 2012-19. These leagues often feature players that never made it to an MLB team or formerly played for an MLB team.

SOURCES: SUGAR LAND SKEETERS, MLB.COM, PRO BASEBALL INSIDERCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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