The goal: to get more rooftops in north and east Lubbock. The challenge: getting people and businesses to move there.
The North and East Lubbock economic development committee discussed plans on how to revitalize that area of town. On Wednesday Lubbock Mayor Marc McDougal has asked the committee to come up with a development plan by the beginning of next year. The Committee is now talking about doing something quote, 'dramatic' to spark development. Possibly building a brand new neighborhood on the rim of the Canyon Lakes.
Making north and east Lubbock desirable. That's the challenge this group is facing. The committee is now listening to builders who say it is possible to make northeast Lubbock grow like south and west Lubbock, but it's going to take a great plan. "Lubbock is maturing. We're not a small place any longer. In bigger cities like Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston the direction of growth isn't important, and I'm seeing that here in Lubbock too. That that's less important," says Lubbock Builder Ron Betenbough. Betenbough and other builders say there is a good deal of potential for growth in north and east Lubbock. For one, they say it's the most scenic area of town with the Canyon Lakes System.
Within three years, the committee wants neighborhoods in north and east Lubbock to have new single family homes, condos and new businesses. The biggest challenge: making this area desirable to people. This committee says part of that will be dispelling myths about the area. In particular, about crime. They say it's no more crime ridden than any other area of Lubbock. They also say it's crucial to start enforcing codes and cleaning neighborhoods up. Finally, they have to create a master development plan for a brand new neighborhood with dramatic incentives like tax abatements, free lots and low interest rates for anyone willing to buy and build in the area.
Executive Director with the Lubbock Housing Finance Corporation Shari Flynn says her organization and eight South Plains banks are on board with the plan. "Making sure we have people who can qualify for loans to buy homes is going to be an essential part of this development project in terms of increasing homes to further attract other development," says Flynn.
Next month the committee will further discuss incentives, tax abatements and enterprise zones. Another meeting next month is set for changing perceptions. In that meeting the committee will discuss marketing and advertising the area.
The committee does have a deadline. They're scheduled to present their plan to city council in January.