Child care, community college, supply chain issues: All the major 2022 issues covered in Katy

all year round, Social Impact covered many local issues related to government, education, health, transportation and more. Here are all the cover stories featured in Katy’s 2022 issue.

January: Fulshear looks to preserve beauty as development unfolds

As the city of Fulshear approaches its 200th anniversary in 2024, the area is growing rapidly.

According to spring 2020 projections by the demographics firm Population and Survey Analysts, the Fulshear area’s population is expected to double between 2019 and 2028—jumping from 31,861 residents in the city and its outer jurisdiction, or ETJ, to 77,2021 out of 77,2021 residents.


Participants use data to address challenges of the criminal justice system in Harris County

Local agencies are working together to improve Harris County’s criminal justice system—a system experts say is plagued by a backlog of cases and discriminates against low-income residents and people of color.

The Harris County Commissioners Court created the Department of Justice Management in 2019 to identify solutions and make meaningful changes to the system.

Katy City Council kicks off $33M travel package

The city of Katy will spend $33 million on nine transit projects over the next three years aimed at increasing mobility, reducing congestion and preparing for growth, officials said.

On Jan. 10, the Katy City Council approved a $33 million transportation package funded by the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County and the Katy Development Authority. The funding includes $23.05 million in the city’s General Mobility Program agreement with METRO and $10.47 million in cash.

March: JV Cardiff’s historic Katy & Sons Rice Dryer begins the next chapter with a new owner

After 26 years of neglect, JV Cardiff & Sons Rice Dryer—one of three rice dryers on the outskirts of the city of Katy located on Hwy. 90—you will see a second life.

In late 2020, developer Hadi “Andrew” Nurcahya purchased the property from an Austin-based developer. Nurcahya said he plans to transform the area into a community-oriented meeting place aimed at promoting local economic growth in conjunction with historic preservation.


Houston Community College-Katy is preparing to open a new campus

The new proximity between Houston Community College-Katy and the University of Houston-Victoria in Katy is expected to not only benefit the student community, but also provide economic development for local workers in Katy, local officials said.

“From Katy, to Katy,” a slogan college officials introduced in 2017, means that students attending Katy ISD schools will be able to attend the new HCC-Katy campus and eventually transfer to neighboring UH-V in Katy campus, said Zachary Hodges, president of the HCC Northwest system, which includes four campuses, including Katy.

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Katy area businesses reflect 2 years of pandemic

It’s been two years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and while the economy has begun to recover from it, business owners in the Katy area say they continue to feel the effects on supply chains, inflation and labor shortages.

February survey data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas revealed that 64.7% of Texas business owners experienced supply chain disruptions or delays in February with 26.9% reporting that they do not expect the supply chain to return to normal for more than a year. Many business owners also noted in a March survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas that the Russia-Ukraine conflict has added to their supply chain issues.


The City of Katy parks master plan aims to connect the community, residents

The city of Katy is in the midst of a collaborative effort to build its parks, trails and recreation master plan. The program will build on several ongoing parks initiatives aimed at connecting the community and improving the quality of Katy’s parks system, city officials said.

Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Browne, who took over in July 2021, said the parks master plan is the second largest for the Katy City Council this year, the second in a broader plan that will shape the city’s plan for the next two decades.

Local agencies are responding to the rise in opioid overdoses

Opioid overdose deaths have increased in Texas since the epidemic began in 2020, but officials with Fort Bend and Harris counties said efforts have been launched during the violence to help prevent a sharp increase in opioid-related deaths.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, opioids are defined as a class of drugs that includes heroin; synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl; and prescription pain relievers, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine and morphine.


The near end of Medicaid non-enrollment is sound alarms

When the coronavirus pandemic broke out in March 2020, the US government issued a requirement that states no longer be able to kick people out of Medicaid during a public health emergency. The goal was to prevent people on Medicaid—the government-run health care policy—from being left uninsured too quickly.

That requirement is still in effect two years later, but health care advocates in Texas and Houston say they are worried about what could happen if it ends and millions of people put their safety nets at risk.

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Growing capacity: Katy-area hospitals are expanding to accommodate a growing population

Katy Hospital officials recognize the need to expand their space and facilities to keep up with Katy’s growth.

Between 2011-20, the six ZIP codes that make up the Community Impact Newspaper area—77449, 77493, 77494, 77441, 77450 and 77094—saw a population increase of 57.31%, from 246,673 to US Census 673 Bureaus. The Katy Area Economic Development Council expects the area to gain 31,185 residents by 2025.

July: Katy sees high prices at the seller’s market

Katy’s housing boom is marked by increased demand for new property, rising home prices and rising interest rates, local experts say.

Despite a challenging market for sellers, experts say the area remains a “highly desirable” place to live because of the area’s well-planned communities, schools and proximity to major highways—such as the Katy Freeway, Westpark Tollway and Grand Parkway.


Local food banks are struggling to meet growing demand amid supply problems, inflation

More than two years after the coronavirus pandemic hit the Greater Houston area in March 2020, food banks are still struggling to meet the growing demand for their services as volunteers are slow to return and donations are scarce.

According to the US Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, 10.9% of residents in the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metro area reported being hungry at the start of the pandemic between April 23-May 5, 2020. Between Oct. 28-Nov. . . 9, 2020, the local food shortage reached 21.4% and has since fluctuated, dropping to 14.2% between June 1 to June 13.

Lamar CISD is moving forward with the November bond as the student population continues to grow

Two years after passing a bond in 2020, Lamar CISD is preparing a $956.29 million bond to be voted on Nov. 8 to go along with enrollment. Made up of three proposals, the package will go to a board vote on Aug. 22, after press time.

If passed, the bond would fund four elementary schools and a middle school, additions to all five high schools, a career and technical education center, renovations to Traylor Stadium, construction of a second stadium, and new technology equipment.

September: Officials plan long-term benefits for Fort Bend County EpiCenter

When it opens in the summer of 2023, the Fort Bend County EpiCenter will sit on 52 acres in Rosenberg, attracting visitors to the area with events from nearby counties, officials said.

Located in the heart of Fort Bend County along Hwy. 59 and Hwy. 36, District Judge KP George said he expects the EpiCenter to bring millions to the county over the next decade in the form of land rentals, hotel stays, naming rights and attracting new businesses to the area.

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Harris County voters will decide the fate of a $1.2B bond for roads, parks, public safety facilities on Nov. 8.

Harris County residents will vote on a $1.2 billion bond to fund public safety facilities, road maintenance and parks during the Nov. midterm elections. 8.

Voters can approve or reject three separate proposals: $100 million for public safety facilities; $900 million for roads, drainage and multimodal transportation; and R200 million for parks. Historically, the county has proposed road and parks bonds every six to eight years, most recently an $848 million bond in 2015.

Katy’s childcare, early education centers face cost, staffing issues as inflation continues to rise

Katy’s continued development and inflation have caused rising child care costs, while early childhood education centers are estimating staffing shortages and retention efforts due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, child care is considered unaffordable if it costs more than 7% of a family’s income. As of October 2020, the average Texas family paid 15.7% of their income for childcare for one child, according to the Economic Policy Institute. At this rate, 15.8% of families can afford childcare.


The report shows high rates of subsidence in Katy, the city continues to sink by two centimeters every year

A University of Houston geological study released in August tracked land degradation in growing areas of Houston from 2016-21. The results show that the Katy area has the most significant displacements of all the surrounding areas, sinking about 2 centimeters per year.

This gradual, vertical descent of Katy’s face is known as subsidence, or subsidence due to underground movement. Katy’s sinking is largely caused by pumping water into underground storage facilities, which include layers of clay and silt in the groundwater, according to the UH study.

Community colleges are awaiting potential state funding changes from the 88th Texas legislative session

Community colleges across the state, including the Houston Community College System, may see a change in how they receive state funding in the coming years.

As we enter Texas’ 88th legislative session in 2023, the state may shift from focusing on enrollment to student outcomes in determining college funding.


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