|Trinity Standard - Local News
Stories Added - July 2008
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company
Brady urges chamber cooperation
Trinity Standard - July 2008
TRINITY – Urging local officials to identify and work toward common goals, U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-The Woodlands) meet Monday with members of three area chambers of commerce.
Hosted by the Trinity Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, Brady said the natural beauty of the Lake Livingston area would be a strong selling point to attract both tourists and new businesses to the area.
Representatives from the Groveton-based Trinity County Chamber of Commerce and the Riverside/Lake Area Chamber of Commerce also were on hand for the meeting.
Prior to being elected to Congress, Brady worked for 18 years as a chamber of commerce executive in Rapid City, S.D as well as in Beaumont and The Woodlands.
Brady’s Eighth Congressional District now includes southern Trinity County as well as Walker, San Jacinto and Polk counties.
The congressman told the group that while they came from three different chamber organizations, they could still come together and work toward common goals that would benefit the entire region.
By pooling their resources, the groups would be able to make a stronger impact, he noted.
“Find a common goal and put together a project that you can all work on. That will let you know if the three chambers can work together,” he said.
“Whether you have one, three or even 10 chambers involved in a project, as long as everyone is working toward a common goal, you can succeed,” he said.
When he questioned those present as to what they felt a common project could be, the need for some type of public park and camp ground was cited.
It was noted at present there are no public parks or camp grounds on Lake Livingston within Trinity County.
The Trinity River Authority’s Wolf Creek Park is located near Coldspring in San Jacinto County and the Lake Livingston State Park is located near the lake’s dam in Polk County.
At present, all of the camp sites along the shores of Lake Livingston in Trinity County are privately held.
Brady acknowledged that with the price of gasoline as high as it is now, more and more people are looking for recreational opportunities closer to home. With the proximity of Houston, Trinity County would be ideally situated to take advantage of that need if it had the facilities.
Spencer Karr of the Trinity River Authority was on hand and noted that TRA currently owns hundreds of acres in Trinity County that could be utilized for parks but at present, the agency does not have the funds to develop the areas.
“We own one of the most beautiful areas along White Rock Creek that would be ideal for this,” he said. “We haven’t been able to do anything so far because of the lack of funds, but we have held on to the property.”
Karr noted that the cost of developing a park, such as its Wolf Creek facility, is very high, especially at the beginning. He noted that since that park opened in 1972, TRA has had to supplement its income to keep it in operation.
“Last year was the first year since it opened that it paid for its own operation,” he added.
Brady indicated that should they decide to do so, the three chambers could work with TRA to find funds to develop the park.
He noted that while park money, especially from the federal government, has been getting harder to get, there still might be some grants available through the state that can help.
“When you’re raising funds, people give money for an idea, whether it’s for a new brochure or some other type of initiative,” Brady said. “People will give their time and their money if they know what the goal is.”
During the question and answer portion of Brady’s presentation, the congressman was asked about the status of the proposed Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC) and other transportation issues.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) had proposed building the I-69/TTC through Trinity County, a move that met almost universal opposition from the public and local officials.
The proposed TTC would require up to a 1,200-foot wide right-of-way and contain up to 10 traffic lanes as well as rail lines and a corridor for utilities.
Last month TxDOT officials announced they were backing off that plan due to the opposition and instead would develop existing highways into the proposed I-69 route.
Brady said that because this was a state plan, he was not directly involved but added he felt the TTC was a “bad idea” and had followed a “bad route.”
He added he was pleased with TxDOT’s decision to return to the existing highway right-of-ways which would mean that U.S. 59 in this part of the state would be converted into an interstate highway.
Brady also said he favors developing Highway 190, which crossed Walker, San Jacinto, Polk and Tyler counties into a four-lane route.
With the high cost of gasoline and diesel, the congressman said more work needs to be done to upgrade the nation’s railroad lines, which are much more cost efficient in hauling freight than tractor-trailer rigs.
On the topic of fuel prices, Brady said he favors developing domestic oil and gas fields to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign sources.
He noted that at present the United States obtains two-thirds of its energy from other nations and that soon that figure will rise to 85 percent.