EARLY — The City of Early and the Early Municipal Development District have given their approved to move forward on the purchase of just over 60 acres of land for the amount of $700,000, a press release from City Administrator Tony Aaron’s office states.

The land is located just north of the 100 block of Early Boulevard and borders the Pecan Bayou on the west side and County Road 381, also known as the Old May Road, on the east side.

According to the press release:

The decision to purchase the property was made for multiple reasons that will benefit the public in many ways for years to come. Preliminary discussions are under way to design and construct a new road that will run along the back of all the businesses on the north side of Early Boulevard from the Cefco gas station on the corner of the Old May Road and continue down behind Humphrey Pete’s.

This road will give these businesses and their customers another route to access the businesses; aid in traffic and safety concerns along Early Boulevard; and address drainage issues in that area.

This road that will parallel Early Boulevard will also open up additional land for economic development that is out of the flood plain area and has great visibility which developers and retail establishment’s desire.

City and economic development officials have met with several developers about the potential of a true “mixed-use development.” A mixed-use development is characterized as pedestrian-friendly development that blends two or more residential, commercial, cultural, institutional, and/or industrial uses.

Mixed use is one of the 10 principles of Smart Growth, a planning strategy that seeks to foster community design and development that serves the economy, community, public health, and the environment.

In addition, a large portion of the land located along the Pecan Bayou could be used for a public park, to mirror and complement Riverside Park. The land has potential of other recreational uses that would include great views of the banks of the river and some of the oldest and largest pecan trees in Brown County.

The idea and discussion of a small par three nine-hole golf course and driving range have also been discussed for this area. “The possibilities are endless,” the press release state. “ It just takes vision and an imagination.”

Quality of life has become a huge factor in the future of community and economic growth. “Having a modern mixed use development will help to attract and retain young professionals and their families as well as individuals that look for the amenities and the conveniences of an urban environment with the slower and welcoming atmosphere that Early, Texas has to offer,” the press release states.

One of the best aspects about this project and its future is that the majority of the cost is being paid for with sales tax, and not property tax, the press release states.

Recent economic development and sales tax increases have allowed the City of Early to improve, and expand its services to its citizens. To keep this progress moving forward, prime land in prime locations “is an investment in our economic development future and can provide the means to keep property tax as low as possible,” the press release states.