Thursday, April 4, 2013

I-20 Corridor: Share Your Ideas for Beautification & Economic Growth

City of Longview Mayor Jay Dean has asked me to chair a citizen's task force to study the economic development of our I-20 corridor. Development of the Interstate 20 corridor is a significant opportunity for the city of Longview to expand economic growth and take advantage of a resource that brings over 37,000 vehicles per day past the Estes Parkway and I-20 intersection.

Anyone who travels north on Estes Parkway toward our LeTourneau University campus can see that this entrance into the city does not represent Longview as the economically vibrant, beautiful city that it is. Our prospective students and their parents drive to campus from I-20 when coming to preview LeTourneau University. They pass several abandoned and shuttered buildings as well as unattractive and overgrown lots. Unfortunately, it is their first impression of Longview.

We at LeTourneau University have a vested interest in being part of beautification and economic growth efforts in South Longview. Because this is our city's front door, all in Longview will benefit from a redeveloped I-20 corridor.

Having been outspoken on the need for improvements, I was eager to get started. Our task force is meeting through May in MSC 3 to consider ideas and develop recommendations for the Mayor and City Council. It's wonderful to have these city leaders and concerned citizens on our campus and to see the valuable asset they have in LETU.

To help with getting input from the community, the Longview Chamber of Commerce has launched a website, www.LongviewTexasListens.com.

I invite those of who are Longview community members to click on the link and share your ideas. The website offers guided questions such as:
  • What type of economic development would you like to see along Longview's I-20 corridor?
  • What types of development would encourage you to visit the Sabine River bottomlands?
  • What can the city do to encourage private developers to make an investment along our I-20 corridor?
  • From your experience, what cities do a great job of attracting visitors from their interstate highway?
Because so many of you, as LETU faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends, live and work in the local community, you have a unique perspective on South Longview. I hope you'll let your good ideas be heard on this website. If nothing else, voice your agreement with the urgency that now is the time to reclaim this neighborhood for the sake of all of Longview.