Explosive Growth in Crosby & East Harris County

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE:

Historical Society details coming growth at quarterly meeting

By David Taylor
Managing Editor

Growth in East Harris County, and especially Crosby is not new. Explosive growth, however, is and community leaders are trying to brace the residents for the growth that will change the town forever. At their first quarterly meeting of the year, the Crosby Historical Society hosted Crosby ISD Superintendent Paula Patterson, Crosby MUD board member Donna Davenport, and area realtor Velma Ellison who all confirmed to the 250-plus attending the meeting that the small town many of them grew up in will soon be forever changed. In 1970, the census showed Crosby population at 3,868. In 2020, the town has grown almost 10 times that at 32,606. The growth that is coming over the next decade is sure to double the size of the town, according to Jody Fuchs, who presented the information on behalf of the Crosby Historical Society.

Fuchs detailed both large and small developments, Patterson focused on the larger ones that would change the demographics and attendance for Crosby ISD.

“We (the district) have met with 15 of the new developments that are coming and we’re future casting 10,000 new homes with an additional 5,000 new students in the next 10 years,” she confirmed.

Every two years, the University Interscholastic League in Austin does a realignment of all the districts to ensure fair play against schools of similar size. On February 1, they released the newest realignment that keeps Crosby in the large 5A division.

“The next step up is 6A and I believe that at the next realignment (in 2026) Crosby will move up into the largest school division of 6A,” she said. Realignment is based off of student enrollment.

Home prices have almost doubled since 2013 when an average home was listed at $142,142. In 2023, the latest figures show the average selling price at $281,509.

Currently, the district educates students at one high school (9-12 grade), one middle school (6-8 grade), four elementary schools (1- 5), and Crosby Kindergarten.

“The high school is expanding by adding a wing to the building that was built in 2015. I won’t say cheap because it’s going to be nice, but with a frugal mind, thinking about the dollars,” the superintendent said.

Patterson said they are looking towards needs and not necessarily ‘wants.’

“We looked at the floor plan of the high school and you know that we have beautiful open spaces, and small group instruction. It’s flex space, but because we’re concerned about bottom dollar and we need classrooms, we made the decision to turn those into four new classrooms to buy us a little more time,” she explained.

They’re about 75 percent in the design phase and the plans are almost done. She predicted that in March 2024 the board would be seeking construction bids with an eye on actual construction beginning in June this year with a scheduled completion date of November 2025.

Since the bond failed, the district is scrambling to find creative ways to pay for HVAC issues that would have been addressed by the bond.

“We have some HVAC equipment in the district that is more than 20 years old. The older it gets, the more likely that it will just stop working and then we’re in trouble,” she said.

The students are coming. Last May, the district ended the school year with an enrollment of 6,693 students. As of Feb. 7, 2024, there are 6,865, an addition of 172 students. That means at least eight additional staff, several more bus routes, and more students in the cafeterias across the district.

The overcrowding is already noticeable with the middle school whose capacity is 1,525. They are over capacity at 1567 and growing. The high school was built for 1,925 students and currently house 2,008.

“Crosby property values, new homes are selling about as fast as they can build them,” said Velma Ellison, owner of Alliance Realtors in Crosby. “We have a very healthy real estate market. The resales continue to maintain good value and they are also selling well. Commercial properties are thriving, and land values continue to appreciate. There are currently 365 homes for sale in Crosby as of this past week. Of those, 217 are single family homes, 19 are country homes and acreage, 84 parcels of land are for sale, and 40 are rentals.

Ellison reported that 667 single family homes were sold in the last year alone, 290 of them being new homes, the remainder as resales or pre-owned homes.

In the final presentation, Donna Davenport reminded everyone that Crosby Municipal Utility District was established in 1965 and was one of the very first rural MUD districts.

“This means that our infrastructure, water and sewer lines, lift stations, and equipment at our plants are also 59 years old,” she said.

Over the years, the MUD district has converted to smart meters allowing them to read the meters from the office.

“It also sees when there are leaks and other issues, we can address much faster,” she said.

Over the years, many residents complained that the MUD district wasn’t getting any new restaurants, businesses, or grocery stores because of no water and sewer lines.

“We cannot speculate with your tax money,” Davenport explained. “We can’t just go out and build lines. When they come to us, they ask to be annexed by our engineer who does a feasibility study. Then, if we can, we annex them and supply them with water and sewer,” she said.

The developers pay for the build out since it means they can install fire hydrants and having them will lower their insurance rates.

A list of all the new developments coming is available on the video of the meeting on the Crosby Historical Society Facebook page.

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