Conroe City Council Considers Revitalization Plans

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Downtown Conroe could get a facelift soon. City council members recently received plans outlining options for a new arts and entertainment district.

"I think the response that I could see from the audience and I know a lot of the councilmen felt we're real enthusiastic with the project, said Jay Ross Martin, Conroe City Councilman.

In May, council hired Destination Development out of Washington state to conduct a study and devise plans for an arts and entertainment district and economic development to go along with it.

Now, the results are in and the plan details options for an 800-seat performing arts center, an outdoor amphitheater and nearly three dozen restaurants, retail shops and pubs.

"From start to finish this will be 25 million or less, that's with the city participation estimated to be about half," said Martin.

That might sound like a pretty penny, but Martin feels with an annual city budget of $50 million and possible partnerships, the city won't have a hard time coming up with half.

Restaurants and entertainment venues won't be the only things new in downtown Conroe. The project also calls for the city to create a new position to oversee downtown growth.

"We're in the process now of setting up that job description through the HR department and city administrator and that would be somebody that's got economic development experience," said Martin.

"We need someone heavily experienced in the real estate side," said Rodney Poole, Conroe City Councilman.

Rodney Poole is the chair of the of the revitalization committee. He is also pleased with the plans, but feels the community should be involved in the process.

"One of the things that I think has to happen next is getting the community to buy into the project as a whole," said Poole.

Poole says he is confident residents will embrace the plans that could add a lot of energy to the city.