The Stephenville Economic Development Authority met Thursday, and it was a busy one.
At the meeting, SEDA elected its officers for 2017, approved a $25,000 infrastructure grant to Equibrand, set a date for “Stephenville Day” at the Texas State Capitol - recommending that the Stephenville City Council fund the trip - and heard a report on event centers from interim city administrator Wayne McKethan.
Election of officers:
• Matt Harpole, re-elected president,
• Bill Cook, vice president
• Shelby Slawson, re-elected secretary
$25,000 economic development grant:
Equibrand is a company that manufactures Classic Rope and sells a variety of equine-related products. The company broke ground last May on a new rope manufacturing plant near Stephenville that brings at least 55 full-time jobs to the area.
The plant is under construction on land directly behind the USTRC offices on Hwy. 377 and the $25,000 grant would go toward infrastructure on the 98,000 square-foot facility.
Before the vote was taken and the coard approved recommending that the city council authorize the expenditure, SEDA Executive Director John Hubbard said, “Since this will bring at least 55 jobs to the area, this is really an investment in economic development in Stephenville. I recommend that the board approve it.”
Stephenville Day at the Texas State Capitol:
The board approved a recommendation to the city council for an expenditure of up to $5,000 for a “Stephenville Day” at the Texas State Capitol on March 21.
SEDA has been working in conjunction with State Representative Dr. J.D. Sheffield’s staff to put together this visit to the capital to promote economic development in Stephenville. SEDA board members, city council members and other interested citizens will travel to the capitol to meet with state officials and various agencies that can help enhance economic development in the city and surrounding area.
SEDA President Matt Harpole said, “This will give our department heads a chance to meet in their areas of expertise with people from the state to focus on what Stephenville is doing and plans to do. I think it will be a great trip and very good for the city.”
These funds will be designated for a bus charter, and breakfast and lunch for the people on this one-day trip.
Event Center Report:
The other main agenda item was a presentation by interim city administrator Wayne McKethan regarding the much-debated need for - or lack of need for - a public event center capable of housing a minimum of 500 people.
McKethan, who is the former city manager of Granbury where they built an event center, said, “I haven’t been in this position for long so I don’t know Stephenville well enough to make a recommendation.
“But I can tell you it’s worked out extremely well for the city of Granbury, including the attraction of 96-room Hilton Hotel and it’s been very successful economically,” he said.
No action was taken by SEDA on the event center topic.