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Driving through the city of Richmond, observing the well shaded streets to the older neighborhood of homes with impeccably landscaped yards on spacious land, one cannot help but reminisce of days gone by. A century ago, homes were separated by many acres and citizens traveled on foot, horseback or by carriage. Life seemed simpler and uncomplicated back then. No one worried about fresh water or groceries, the land supplied all they needed. As a result of large landholdings, city growth was slow and meticulous, so even with the progress Richmond has seen in the past few years, it still maintains the small, quiet, slow paced town of yesterday. Following the street to the address, the house is hidden by towering trees and dense bushes. Arriving at the front door and upon entering, the décor of the house is synonymous with the personality of the owner; classy, comfortable and welcoming. A native Texan, Mayor Evalyn Moore has been a resident of Fort Bend County most of her life. She and her husband, the late Hilmar G. Moore, have devoted their lives to community service for the city of Richmond. At 2 ½ years in office, this insightful Mayor has a very busy schedule, accomplishing significant milestones in laying the foundation for city development. REAL ESTATE, A CAREFUL, STRATEGIC GROWTH PLAN Between 2012 and 2013, the area experienced unprecedented growth, over 25,000 people moved into Fort Bend County. As the population and housing costs sky-rocketed in Houston, residents sought out a more economical place to live, work, and to retire. What better place than Richmond? Mayor Moore is encouraged by the development of approximately 750 acres from the Wessendorff foundation consisting of Miss Janey’s homestead, and Long Acres Farms. It will soon be called Long Acres Ranch Nature Tourism Center. The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will be managing 3 miles of river frontage. They will provide outdoor recreational activities, and will conduct educational training and research. Another 600 acres of the Wessendorff property and 310 acres of the George family land will hopefully, one day, become a premiere mixed use master planned community as well. There are plans for a new neighborhood park in the Freeman Town area, which will add more green space to preserve the “country life” atmosphere. So residents will never forget their roots, Mayor Moore and the City Commissioners have just completed the new Comprehensive Master Plan which will serve as a guide for future developments, civic enhancements, and historic preservation. Moses Lapham, who was a land surveyor 178 years ago would be proud. Richmond was named No. 1 in the 10 Best Houston Suburbs to live in ranking, No. 1 in the Most Affordable Houston Suburbs and No. 1 in the Best Houston Suburbs for Young Couples by Movoto Real Estate. They also said Richmond is safe, the residents are well employed and it’s only a quick drive from Houston. What a great reputation to have. PRESERVING RICHMOND’S PAST WHILE PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE City improvements are a top priority for Mayor Moore. One of her greatest accomplishments to date is the improvement of the Richmond water supply. She is keeping a close eye on the subsidence issue. Subsidence is the gradual sinking of an area of land. She said, “Studies by the subsidence district estimate that if nothing is done, parts of Fort Bend County will sink about five feet in the next four decades. The impact will be lessened to just two feet under recent regulations by converting 30% usage to alternate sources by 2016 and 60% of our groundwater supplies by 2025.” Richmond’s alternate source is the new Surface Water Treatment Plant. The land was donated by The George Foundation and the ground breaking ceremony was held on September 23, 2014. This Surface Water Treatment Plant will supply 2 million gallons of water a day to accommodate long term growth for the residents in Richmond. It will also lessen the threat of subsidence as Richmond becomes less dependent on the Gulf Coast Aquifer. ADDING SERVICES, IMPROVING SAFETY & INVESTING IN GROWTH The city of Richmond continues to improve the quality of living for the residents. Mayor Moore said, “Our police department was named number 42 of the top 50 safest cities in Texas. This past year we welcomed a new police chief, Gary Adams. He brings over 40 years of law enforcement experience to Richmond. Our fire department has earned an ISO rating of 2. We are making plans to rebuild fire station #2. Our firefighters also take training very seriously, working on physical fitness as well as receiving instruction in specialized programs.” OakBend Medical Center offers state of the art technology, assists the citizens and is dedicated to the community by providing multiple campuses to serve their needs. Through matching grants, Richmond continues to make investments in higher education supporting the growth and expansion of Wharton County Junior College, Richmond Campus, and the new Texas State Technical College. New road projects are in the works in partnership with the County. The City’s Economic Development Corporation has been working with new businesses, restaurants and shops ... even a new winery and microbrewery that will soon be open for business in Richmond. While all this is taking place now, the Mayor is also assessing new areas for strategic commercial annexations. The residents of Richmond are very lucky. The city still possesses the “small town charm”, a great place for children to grow up and live. Mayor Moore said, “Hey, this is the south ya’ll. We move a little slower, and talk a little slower, and sometimes good things take a little longer. But, we do them right.” Richmond is at the threshold of a phenomenal future of growth and success, physically and financially, thanks to Mayor Moore and her City Administration. Their meticulous plans to keep the history alive and the city advancing through anticipation of the future will open the doors to progress. The land is about to be transformed into beautiful planned communities, retail commercial developments and public parks. In coming years, Richmond may not be the “best kept secret” but it will be a beautiful place to live, grow and retire, and it’s gonna be worth the wait.
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