Growth of commercial and residential investment on the rise

WS City Logo

by A.C. Hall

Usually the monthly reports of Economic Development Director Jim Ryan are made of updates on specific new and existing businesses in the city, but last week he took a more general approach.  Ryan put a spotlight on the progress that the city has made in recent years when it comes to commercial properties in White Settlement.

“We have had in the past five years, a minimum that we can count, $118,500,000 in investment in this community,” Ryan said.

He added that there’s also been $35 million in new homes thanks to the Sunview additions.

“In a five year period we’ve had basically $153,500,876 worth of commercial and residential investment,” Ryan said.

Ryan said he feels like this is major progress for a city the size of White Settlement, saying the City Council and EDC should be commended.  Mayor Jerry Burns shared that sentiment, also sounding off on the numbers that Ryan shared.

“The thing that impresses me is that was considered bad economic times when a lot of that was happening,” Mayor Burns said.  “I think that we’re gonna move forward and keep on chugging.”

Staff Presentations

Two staff presentations were made, the first from Parks and Recreation Director Rich Tharp.  The first date highlighted by Tharp was March 22, which will feature the White Settlement Youth Association opening day baseball parade, followed by the start of little league games at Central Park.  At Veterans Park on March 22, the Spring Kid Fish will be held from 1 to 5, followed by a family cookout event.

The city’s annual Easter event will be held from 2 to 5 on April 12 at Veteran’s Park.  The city will have over 120,000 eggs for children from different age groups to find.

The final even highlighted by Tharp was the Arbor day tree giveaway on April 26.  From 9 a.m. to noon, White Settlement residents who bring proof of residence can come to the city complex and get a free tree.

City Manager Linda Ryan presented the EDC finance report next, sharing good news about sales tax.  She said that the sales tax was up 7.6% over the past month, putting them on a good trend for the year.

“If we keep doing what we’re doing we’ll meet our budget and maybe exceed it,” Linda Ryan said.

Other business

EDC presented a Business Improvement Grant check to Richard Ebenhack, owner of Chicken Express, for the improvements he’s recently completed to the Clifford location of Chicken Express.  Ebenhack was on hand and was presented with a check in the amount of $30,754.  Many in attendance spoke highly of Ebenhack and his restaurant.

EDC voted unanimously to accept the donation of a property at 212 North Roe Street.  The EDC would be required to pay back taxes of $1200 on the property, but some of that money would come back to them.  When asked what the property could be used for, Ryan stated that it was a residential property and would likely just be sold.

“We’re not having trouble getting rid of some of these properties,” Ryan added, saying he thinks it could fetch between $6000 and $7000.

This item also requires City Council approval before becoming finalized.