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Cultivating Montgomery County's Future

View of a highway with a beautiful landscape and dramatic sky near Sheridan, Wyoming

Folks, the days are starting to warm, the rodeo kicks off at the end of the month, local gardeners are preparing, and candidates for office are amid primary season. Another spring in Montgomery County is here.

Having recently purchased a new home from a local builder, my intention for 2018 was to work on my “green thumb” by planting some fruit and vegetables for the summer. This entire endeavor has meant several trips to my local hardware store, and nursery, a mini crash course in horticulture, and extensive planning—from understanding the germination process (it’s long), the watering schedule, and what part of our lot gets the best sun.

I’d like to give an example of a successful “gardener” here in Montgomery County. George Mitchell is considered the father of hydraulic fracturing as well as the driving force for the development of The Woodlands. Mr. Mitchell had a vision for what The Woodlands could be and was committed to the process. The process started in 1974 with the opening of The Woodlands and has borne serious fruit.

In 1970, 49,000 people lived in Montgomery County. 40 years later, there are estimates 11 times that number. Further north, Conroe is recognized as the fastest growing city in the nation according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

I’ve taken the time to regale with you this story to say, the success of a garden is less a function of chance or money rather, the success of the garden will depend on having an earnest gardener who is willing to have a vision and manage the process to get to that vision.

With primary season upon us, the question I have is what kind of garden are the candidates in Montgomery County looking to grow?

The growth of Montgomery County has created many issues for elected officials to manage and resolve. I’ll highlight a few below.

Road & Water Infrastructure – The expansion of the Grand Parkway has opened southern Montgomery County for development. Small country roads like Hufsmith Kohrville are experiencing high traffic counts due to their connection to 99. Cities like Magnolia and Conroe are experiencing significant growth within the city limits and their surrounding areas. The ability to adequately serve current residents needs to be prioritized, with an eye for the future with an estimated 1.1 million residents projected to live in Montgomery County by 2040.

Flood Planning – There are six major watersheds that run throughout Montgomery County. Each of these watersheds has its own characteristics which need to be planned for and in some cases mitigated. In recent days, officials from Harris and Montgomery Counties have vowed cooperation on drainage studies, which will hopefully materialize over time into a cohesive and comprehensive approach to flood planning and protection.

Economic Development – George Mitchell had a vision that there would be a “job for every home.” With another 600,000 people on the way in the next 20 years, our elected officials need to start thinking of ways to continue enticing businesses to come to Montgomery County. Some of those key points will be affordable housing stock, strong interconnected transportation infrastructure, a large workforce diverse in skill and education, and continued development of entertainment options beyond Lake Conroe and Cynthia Woods Pavilion.

When you start thinking about who you want to vote for this spring, consider which candidates are best able to plant the seeds that will bear fruit for the future of Montgomery County.