County Commissioners Consider Parks Legado Project

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

ECTOR COUNTY--The plan is to generate jobs and bring new business and homes to Odessa.  Ector County commissioners tabled the issue until next month, but not before hearing from concerned citizens who had something to say about the way developers were asking for support.

Parks Legado is the brain child of Collin Sewell and his family.  Sewell compared this project to a very large plane that needs a long runway to take off.  He says they need one thing before this plan can get off the ground, "A private-public partnership is critical for a project of this size to be able to take off."

Commissioners met in a closed door executive session to consider Sewell's request.  When they came about 45 minutes later, they said they needed more time to think it over.

"I don't see it as a set back at all.  I see it as an opportunity to explain even further what Parks Legado can do for the community," Sewell said.

The proposal would be a split of about $3 million of tax revenues between Parks Legado developers and the Ector County.

County Judge Susan Redford says, since this is such a new concept, it's best to get all the information they can before they decide, "We need to do more research and see how issues like this are being treated by other counties of our same size."

Redford says commissioners have gotten several comments from Ector County residents, both for and against the proposal, in fact, they opened the floor for public comment on Monday morning.  Not everyone was 100% in favor of the way they're asking for support.

"I'm for the project.  Let me say that up front," resident Chet Bales, said.  "I think that any project that we do like this is a benefit to the people in Ector County.  What I'm not for is giving up money.  We have an agency in place for that."

The town center promises to bring in more businesses and shopping.  Tax payers, like Jason Moore, wonder if they should they consider those (businesses) that have come to the area and closed down.

"There's nothing you can do to prevent them from closing down.  My contingent is, quit acting like you have all the answers for a Utopia.  There is no Utopia," Moore said.

In the end, county commissioners will have another month to decide what route they're going to take.  For now, it's going to be a wait and see situation.

"This is not taking any additional tax payer money away.  This is simply reimbursing some of the investment in the infrastructure of this project," Redford explained.

Sewell is okay with their decision, "It gives me the opportunity to have those dialogues and discussions about what works best."

Sewell has another chance to get support for the project.  He will speak before the Odessa College Board of Directors on Tuesday night, where he will give them the same presentation he's made before the Odessa City Council and Ector County Commissioners.