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Utility development key to Crosby’s growth

Crosby—Today and Tomorrow, First in a three-part series.

By DON SPRINGER
When did Crosby begin?
Was it in the early 1800’s when the first Czech natives arrived in this area, established an encampment, and called it Lick Skillet?
Thus began the local Bohemian culture that is carried on today through the annual Czech Festival. Was it in 1861 when G. J. Crosby, an employee of the Sabine and Galveston Bay Railroad & Lumber Company, gave the area his family name? Or was it as late as August 23, 1972, when local real estate agent Don Cox sold the first lot in the newly established Newport? Perhaps it was some other date or happening in your mind.
Certainly historians would consider the beginning of Crosby as being the movement of the Czech’s here in the early 1800’s or in 1861 when it was renamed Crosby.
But for the purpose of this series we prefer to look at the more recent date. For the next three weeks we will focus on the faster growth years and we see that being triggered by the establishment of its Newport neighbor.
More specifically we will look at the growth since the turn of the twenty-first century. In the past seven plus years Crosby has been growing at a rate that makes it the envy of many other areas of the state and nation.
Today we will focus on two public utilities that have had to grow at an equal or faster pace to keep up with the demands of its public—the Crosby and Newport Municipal Utility Districts (MUD).

The Crosby MUD has had to deal with growth from the business, industrial and private home ownership areas. From a housing point of view it has grown far slower than that of Newport. However, the business side growth has put the Crosby MUD in a position of having to modernize and expand its water capacity and distribution.
According to statistics from the Crosby MUD it has expanded its operating water meters from 1,049 in 2000 to 1,129 in 2007. While this may seem to represent a small growth, one needs to look at what those additional meters represent.
MUD representative Jerry Blizzard said most of this growth is serving the large number of businesses, many part of national chains, that have been established here since the year 2000. Each of those meters represents dozens of facilities from the meter inward. One need only drive down Rt. 2100 to see what it represents today as opposed to the year 2000.
Water availability, while a consideration, “is not the real problem,” according to Blizzard. “Our problem is one of distribution. We had a bond issue passed in 2004 and another last year. Renovations have been going on for a while and will continue. We have a 300,000 gal. storage tank and two large booster pumps completed. Other renovation work continues.”
Blizzard also pointed out that the Crosby MUD is working to provide its service South of new U. S. Rt. 90 to service businesses and housing developments not yet in place but to be built in the next few years. The area along new Rt. 90 is highly desirable for business growth.
Newport growth is a different matter.
The Newport MUD has had to face different, yet important problems of its own. Board member, Jim Hembee, said Newport homes have increased by 1,013 since 2000. It now serves more than 2,700 home owners within Newport. That growth will continue, or expand, over the next few years.
Hembee said about 175 homes will be added this year, drop to about 160 in 2008 and then increase to more than 200 per year in the immediate future. There are several undeveloped lots remaining in Newport, other areas to be opened and a new gated-community to be added shortly.
Developer Brad Koenig is putting in the gated-community. Land preparation is underway now on Golf Club Road, across from the entrance to Newport Country Club. About 160 homes are expected to be built there and some may be under construction before the end of 2007.
Crosby is changing, and the change is likely to increase before the year 2015.

Next Week: The Star-Courier looks at the Crosby-Huffman Chamber of Commerce, business growth and housing growth outside of Newport.