MIDLAND, Texas — It became a reality in late march when Bass Pro Shops would officially be coming to West Texas. The fishing and hunting store will be located near highways 191 and 158 with a target date for opening in November of 2024.
On Monday night, a town hall was held to answer community questions about the project, and there was plenty of conversation regarding increased traffic concerns in the area.
Amy Stretcher-Burkes is the representative for District 4 on the Midland City Council, and she heard input from both sides.
“I think a lot of people that didn’t say things…came up to me afterwards [and] said ‘we are very excited about this project,’" said Stretcher-Burkes. "I think, though, there [are] some traffic concerns. There [are] some serious traffic concerns in District 4 that I want to focus on and make sure that we do our best to solve.”
With increased traffic concerns becoming the focus regarding development on the west side of Midland, the goal of having a traffic light active before Bass Pro Shops opens is expected to help.
“We don’t want to have to fix things afterwards," said Charles Hodges, the developer for the project and founder of the C. Hodges Development Corporation. "We want everything to be smooth -- and for these neighbors that were here tonight -- I can’t stress enough how I believe that is going to be a very beneficial thing to calm that traffic on 158.”
Hodges said he received excitement around the project during the town hall as well, and his outlook is for about 28 million dollars in sales.
“But that’s a transfer of sales coming from probably a 12-15 county area into Midland County and the City of Midland, so those tax revenues are really beneficial…the magnetic pull is much wider even to Hobbs, and I believe we’ll pull Hobbs to this store easily," said Hodges.
With other city leaders also in attendance Monday night, the commitment level is noticeable.
“You’ve got a wonderful city," said Hodges. "You’ve got a wonderful MDC. You’ve got one of the most proactive economic development groups I’ve seen around the country. Your city council is engaged, they wanted to be there, they wanted to work with us, and they’ve been super responsive, so you should applaud the fact that you’ve got a really good staff.”
Stretcher-Burkes said that she felt it was important to get thoughts and concerns from the community. She also mentioned being accessible and approachable, and on Wednesday night at the Mabee Theatre in Midland she will hold another town hall with the focus for that meeting specifically on District 4.