by Tracey S. Wheeler, IOM, President & CEO
There is only one basic reason for the Chamber of Commerce to exist and that is to do whatever is necessary to keep the economic conditions in the Baytown area such that people will be willing to risk their time, talent and money in the hope of making a profit here. We are lucky to have a business community that comes together and supports a strong Chamber of Commerce. The members of the chamber are here for the right reasons – to make Baytown a better place to live, work and raise a family and to ensure a strong business climate.
Baytown is no longer “Houston’s best kept secret”. We are the third largest city in Harris County with a population exceeding 80,000. Our community is growing (as we talk about each and every month in this article) and providing excellent employment, educational and recreational opportunities.
For some time now, I have asked the Mayor when are we going to get a convention center. He has promised that it would be soon. It appears now that the promise is coming to fruition. The city is working diligently to bring a hotel/conference center to the Bayland Island. The proposed agreement will include a swimming pool, fitness center, business center, sundry shop, coffee stand, lobby bar and lounge, full service restaurant, 20,000 square feet of meeting space and 200 guestrooms and suites.
Everywhere we look there is something being built from apartments to single family homes to retail/restaurants and more. We are now a “booming metropolis”, and it appears that this growth is going to be with us for quite a while. As a result, there will be a constant need for us to continue planning for the future. Our city government, school district and college district are all being challenged to keep up with this growth. The school district will open the expanded Stuart Career Center this school year and this will become another high school for those students wanting to complete technical training in order to go directly into the workplace. As our community continues to grow, we must ensure that we have the skilled workforce to keep up with the number of jobs being created. Talented workers who possess the technical skills, education levels, and innovative capabilities sought by top employers are key to our economic development strategy. The school district will also be “bursting from the seams” soon, and that will necessitate additional needs to include more campus seats. As we study those needs, please make yourself knowledgeable and assist whenever possible.
As I say in every article, we need to be the “Ambassadors” of our community. It is our role to tell the Baytown story. If you don’t keep up with what’s going on in the area, you can’t by the Ambassador that you need to be. We are lucky to have a strong city government, school district, college, economic development foundation and chamber of commerce. All of these entities work together to ensure a quality community. It is not an easy task, but as Baytonians we can make a difference in the community we are continuing to build.
REMEMBER to work to keep Baytown clean and to always talk about the good things in our community – oh, yes, and try to Shop Baytown First.