Sugar Land, Texas
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Location of Sugar Land within Fort Bend County, Texas
|Mayor||David G. Wallace|
|29.08 mi² / 75.3 km²
28.28 mi² / 73.2 km²
0.8 mi² / 2.1 km²
2,629.1 mi² / 1,015.0/km²
|Official website: http://www.sugarlandtx.gov|
Sugar Land is a city located along the Gulf Coast region in the U.S. state of Texas within the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown Metropolitan Area. As of the 2000 U.S. Census, Sugar Land had a population of 63,328 (though a 2004 estimate placed the city's population at 73,721). Sugar Land's total population, including its extraterritorial jurisdiction, is approximately 118,000 with a 2010 projection of 130,000.
Founded as a sugar plantation in the early mid 1800s and incorporated in 1959, Sugar Land is the largest city and economic center of Fort Bend County. The city is the third largest in population and second in economic activities of the greater Houston area with a population of about 5.2 million in ten counties. Sugar Land is the fastest-growing city in Texas—growing more than 158 percent in the last decade.
Sugar Land is home to the headquarters of Imperial Sugar and the company's main refinery and distribution center was once located in this city. As a nod to this heritage, the Imperial Sugar crown logo can be seen in the city seal and logo. The city also holds the headquarters for Nalco/Exxon and Western Airways. In addition, Sugar Land has a large number of international energy, software, engineering and product firms.
Sugar Land ranked second among the "hottest" places to live within the state of Texas and 46th in the United States for 2005 according to Money magazine. The city has the most master-planned communities in Fort Bend County, which is home to the largest number of master-planned communities in the nation. Sugar Land holds the title of “Fittest City in Texas,” population 50,000-100,000. Sugar Landers often refer to the city by its nickname: "The Land of Sugar".
Main article: History of Sugar Land, Texas
Sugar Land has a heritage tracing its roots back to the original Mexican land grant to Stephen F. Austin. One of the first settlers of the land, Samuel M. Williams, called this land "Oakland Plantation" because there were many different varieties of oaks on the land, such as Pin Oak, Post Oak, Water Oak, Red Oak, and Live Oak. Williams' brother, Nathaniel, purchased the land in 1838. They operated the plantation by growing cotton, corn, and sugarcane. During these early years, the area that is now Sugar Land was the center of social life along the Brazos River. In 1853, Benjamin Terry and William J. Kyle purchased the Oakland Plantation from the S. M. Williams family. Terry is known for organizing Terry's Texas Rangers during the Civil War and for naming the town. Upon the deaths of Terry and Kyle, Colonel E. H. Cunningham bought the 12,500 acre (51 km²) plantation soon after the Civil War and developed the town around his sugar refining plant around 1879.
In 1906, the Kempner family of Galveston, under the leadership of Isaac H. Kempner and in partnership with William T. Eldridge, purchased the 5,300 acre (21 km²) Ellis Plantation, one of the few plantations in Fort Bend County to survive the Civil War. The Ellis Plantation had originally been part of the Jesse Cartwright league and in the years after the Civil War had been operated by a system of tenant farming under the management of Will Ellis. In 1908, the partnership acquired the adjoining 12,500 acre (51 km²) Cunningham Plantation with its raw sugar mill and cane-sugar refinery. The partnership changed the name to Imperial Sugar Company; Kempner associated the name Imperial, which was also the name of a small raw-sugar mill on the Ellis Plantation, with the Imperial Hotel in New York City. Around the turn of the century, most of the sugarcane crops were destroyed by a harsh winter. As part of the Kempner-Eldridge agreement, Eldridge moved to the site to serve as general manager and build the company-owned town of Sugar Land.
Trains have always been the sound of Sugar Land. These rails are on the route of the oldest railroad in Texas. It went right through the middle of town, by the sugar refinery, and west of town, through the heart of what used to be known as the Imperial State Prison Farm.
As a company town, Sugar Land was virtually self-contained. Imperial Sugar Company provided housing for the workers, encouraged construction of schools, built a hospital for the workers well-being, and provided businesses to meet the workers needs. Many of the original homes built by the Imperial Sugar Company remain today in The Hill area and Mayfield Park of Sugar Land and have been passed down through generations of family members.
A city emerges
During the 1950s, Imperial Sugar wanted to expand the town by building more houses. This lead to the creation of a new subdivision of Venetian Estates. The subdivision featured water front homesites fronting Oyster Creek and other man-made lakes.
As the company town expanded, so did the interest of establishing a municipal government. It resulted in Sugar Land becoming a general law city in 1959 by voters. T. E. Harman became the first mayor of Sugar Land.
Master-planned communities era
The Imperial Cattle Ranch sold about 1,200 acres (4.9 km²) to a developer to create what became Sugar Creek in 1968. As a master-planned community, Sugar Creek introduced country club living with two golf courses and country clubs, swimming pools, and security.
Encouraged by the success of Sugar Creek, First Colony, a new master-planned community encompassing 10,000 acres (40 km²) set out to create a new standard in development in Sugar Land. Development began in 1977 by Sugarland Properties Inc. and would follow the next 30 years. The master-planned community offered homebuyers formal landscaping, neighborhoods segmented by price range, extensive greenbelts, a golf course and country club, lakes and boulevards, neighborhood amenities and shopping.
Around the same time of First Colony, another master-planned community development started in northern portion of Sugar Land called Sugar Mill. Sugar Mill offered traditional, lakefront, and estate lots.
Sugar Land began attracting the attention of major corporations throughout the 1980s, and many chose to make the city their home. Fluor Daniel, Schlumberger, Unocal and others offered their employees the opportunity to work within minutes of their home. This resulted in a 40/60 ratio of residential to commercial tax base within the city.
In 1981, a special city election was held for the purpose of establishing a home rule municipal government. Voters approved the adoption of a home rule charter. The type of municipal government provided by this Charter was known as "mayor-council government," and all powers of the City were invested in a Council composed of a mayor and five councilmen.
A special city election was held Aug. 9, 1986, to submit the proposed changes to the electorate for consideration. By a majority of the voters, amendments to the Charter were approved which provided for a change in the City's form of government from that of "mayor-council" (strong mayor) to that of a "council-manager" form of government which provides that the city manager be the chief administrative officer of the city. Approval of this amendment provided for the mayor to become a voting member of Council, in addition to performing duties as presiding officer of the Council.
Sugar Land annexed the master-planned Sugar Creek community in 1986 with the community being almost built-out. This was the first of several large annexations that will follow later on. Also, that same year, the city extended its extraterritorial jurisdiction across the Brazos River to what would later cover the 2,050 acre (8.3 km²) master-planned community of Greatwood.
In 1986, Sugar Land organized the largest celebration in its history— The Texas Sesquicentennial Celebration, celebrating 150 years of Texan independence from Mexican rule.
A decade of growth
An Amendment on May 5, 1990, changed the composition of the City Council to a Mayor, four councilmembers to be elected by single-member districts and two councilmembers by at-large position. Throughout much of the 1990s, Sugar Land was considered one of the fastest-growing communities in the nation and the majority of Sugar Landers are white-collar, and college-educated working in Houston's renowned energy industry. An abundance of commercial growth, with numerous low-rise office buildings, banks and high-class restaurants popping up, can be seen along both U.S. Highway 59 and Texas Highway 6, two of the six main traffic arteries in the city.
Sugar Land tremendously increased its tax base with the opening of First Colony Mall in 1996. The over one million square foot (100,000 m²) mall was the first in Fort Bend County and located at the busiest intersection of the city: U.S. Highway 59 and Texas Highway 6. The mall was named after the 10,000 acre (40 km²) master-planned First Colony community and is located in the community as well.
On a late November night at 11:59 p.m. in 1997, Sugar Land annexed the remaining Municipal Utility Districts (MUDs) of the 10,000 acre (40 km²) First Colony master-planned community, bringing the population to almost reaching 60,000. This was Sugar Land's largest annexation to date.
Later in 1998, a new 428 acre (1.7 km²) master-planned community of Avalon offered lake-side living with estate and lakefront home sites, similar to that of the built-out Sugar Lakes master-planned community, which was developed by the same developer.
The new millennium
The refinery and distribution center was shut down in 2003. The headquarter still remains in Sugar Land.]] Sugar Land boasted the highest growth among Texas' largest cities per the U.S. Census 2000 with a population of 63,328 and a 2004 estimate at 73,721. In 2003, Sugar Land became a "principal" city as the title changed to Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown metropolitan area. Sugar Land replaced Galveston as the second most important city in the metropolitan area, after Houston, as the title used to be Houston–Galveston–Brazoria.
The new millennium also saw the need of higher education facility expansion located within the city. In 2002, the University of Houston System at Fort Bend, a multi-institution teaching center for the four universities within the University of Houston System, moved to its new 250 acre (1 km²) campus located off of University Blvd and U.S. Highway 59 intersection. The city of Sugar Land helped fund the Albert and Mamie George Building and as a result, the multi-institution teaching center was renamed to the University of Houston System at Sugar Land.
Sugar Land approved a general land plan for a new master-planned community south of Commonwealth and First Colony and east of Avalon, named Riverstone (formerly referred to as Sugar Land Ranch) in 2002. Riverstone contains 2,800 acres (11 km²) with a wooded 2,300 acres (9 km²) located in the extraterritorial jurisdiction of Sugar Land. The community will feature a golf course, country club, and a 500 acre (2 km²) park along the Brazos River. The major arterial through this community will be the unbuild portion of University Blvd and the Palm Royale Blvd extension out of First Colony.
In 2003, the Imperial Sugar Company refinery plant and distribution center was put out of operation, but its effect on the local economy was minimal, if at all, since Sugar Land today has much more of a reputation as an affluent Houston suburb than the blue-collar, agriculture-dependent town it once was a generation ago.
The Texas Department of Transportation sold 2,018 acres (8.2 km²) of prison land in the western portion Sugar Land to Newland Communities, a developer, by bid in 2003. Thereafter, the developer announced to build a new master-planned community in this prime location with homes to deliver in early 2006. In July 2004, Sugar Land annexed all 2,018 acres (8.2 km²) of this land into the city limits to control the quality of development, extending the city limits westward. This was unusual since Sugar Land only annexed built-out areas in the past, not prior to development.
In the summer of 2005, Sugar Land announced the annexation of the recently built-out master-planned community of Avalon and four sections of Brazos Landing into the city limits on or before December 31, 2005. Avalon and Brazos Landing are located south of the current city limits, but north of the Brazos River.
See also: History of Texas
The elevation of most of the city is between 70 and 90 feet (21 and 27 m). The elevation of Sugar Land Regional Airport is 82 feet (25 m).
Sugar Land is located at 29°35'58" North, 95°36'51" West (29.599580, -95.614089)GR1.
Sugar Land has two major water ways running through the city limits and extraterritorial jurisdiction. The Brazos River runs from west, traverses by the master-planned communities of New Territory, River Park, and Greatwood, to the lower far southeastern portion of the city's extraterritorial jurisdiction and then into Brazoria County. Oyster Creek runs from the northwest, by Sugar Land Regional Airport, through "Old Sugar Land", Sugar Lakes, and First Colony in the eastern portion of the city limits into Missouri City.
Sugar Land has many natural and man-made lakes connecting to Oyster Creek and one connecting to the Brazos River. The remainder of the lakes in Sugar Land are man-made through the development of many master-planned communities.
Adjacent cities and towns
Houston, the fourth largest city in the country, is to the northeast. Located to the east of Sugar Land are the cities of Meadows Place, Stafford, and Missouri City. South of Sugar Land has the town of Thompsons. To the southwest is the southeastern city limits stretch of Rosenberg. Richmond, located to the west, is the county seat of Fort Bend County. Further northwest is the city of Katy.
Sugar Land's climate is classified as being humid subtropical. The city is located in the gulf coastal plains biome, and the vegetation is classified as a temperate grassland. Average yearly precipitation levels range from 36 to 48 inches. Prevailing winds are from the south and southeast during most of the year, bringing heat from the deserts of Mexico and moisture from the Gulf of Mexico.
In the summer time, daily high temperatures are in the 95ºF (35ºC) to 110ºF (45ºC) range throughout much of July and August. The air tends to feel still and the humidity (often 90 to 100 percent relative humidity) makes the air feel hotter than it really is. Summer thunderstorms sometimes bring tornadoes to the area. Afternoon rains are not uncommon, and most days Houston meteorologists predict at least some percentage chance of rain.
Winters in the Houston area are cool and temperate. Many days the temperatures are between the 45 and 55 ºF (7 and 16 ºC). The coldest period is usually in January, when north winds bring winter rains. Snow is almost unheard of, and typically does not accumulate when it is seen. A freak snowstorm hit Houston on Christmas Eve 2004. A few inches accumulated, but was all gone by the next afternoon.
As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there are 63,328 people, 20,515 households, and 17,519 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,015.0/km² (2,629.1/mi²). There are 21,090 housing units at an average density of 338.0/km² (875.6/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 66.00% White, 5.20% African American, 0.24% Native American, 23.80% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 2.32% from other races, and 2.41% from two or more races. 7.98% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 20,515 households out of which 51.2% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 74.5% are married couples living together, 8.4% have a female householder with no husband present, and 14.6% are non-families. 12.6% of all households are made up of individuals and 2.9% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 3.06 and the average family size is 3.36.
In the city the population is spread out with 31.2% under the age of 18, 6.2% from 18 to 24, 28.7% from 25 to 44, 27.2% from 45 to 64, and 6.7% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 37 years. For every 100 females there are 95.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 91.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $81,767, and the median income for a family is $88,639. Males have a median income of $63,834 versus $37,498 for females. The per capita income for the city is $33,506. 3.8% of the population and 3.2% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 3.3% of those under the age of 18 and 8.9% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
The city limits population estimate for 2004 is 73,721 and Sugar Land expects the ultimate population to eventually exceed 200,000. This will make it the second largest city in the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown metropolitan area, surpassing Pasadena.
Even though still commonly known as a "new money" residential suburb of Houston, Sugar Land does have a significant corporate presence. Like the rest of the Greater Houston area, much of the larger corporations are engaged in the energy industry, specifically oil/gas exploration and refining. The city has a large number of international energy, software and product firms. Sugar Land holds the Nalco/Exxon and Western Airways headquarters. Engineering firms and other related industries have managed to take the place as an economic engine. As further testaments to its economic growth in recent years, Sugar Land has seen the arrival of its own mall, Mercedes-Benz dealership, and a Marriott Hotel. All of which are located close to one of Fort Bend County's premier central business districts, known as Sugar Land Town Square.
Sugar Land Town Square is a pedestrian-oriented, main-street city center and a central business district that is within walking distance of stores, services, mid-rise office buildings, upscale restaurants, sidewalk cafes, entertainment and a first class hotel and conference center.
An abundance of commercial growth, with numerous low-rise office buildings, banks and high-class restaurants popping up, can be seen along both U.S. Highway 59 and Texas Highway 6, two of the six main traffic arterials within the city. In an attempt to manage future growth, the city has already placed restrictions on how many levels a building can have, with condominiums only able to reach 10 floors and office buildings having a maximum of 15 floors.
Sugar Land is home to the headquarter of the Imperial Sugar Company as the company's main refinery and distribution center was once located in this city. It has since been put out of operation since 2003, but its effect on the local economy was minimal, if at all, since Sugar Land today has much more of a reputation as an affluent Houston suburb than the blue-collar, agriculture-dependent town it once was a generation ago.
- Baker Hughes
- City of Sugar Land
- ECO Resources
- Fluor Corporation
- Fort Bend ISD
- Newmark Homes, L.P.
- Ondeo Nalco Energy Services, L.P.
- Schlumberger Limited
- Suntron Corporation
- Unocal Corporation
People and culture of Sugar Land
Sugar Land is also notable for its affluent minority population, since it is also a popular place of residence among Houston's increasingly influential Asian American community. According to the U.S. Census, a quarter of its residents were Asian American in 2000. Sugar Land could quite possibly have the largest and most affluent Asian American community in Texas.
Sugar Land ranked 46th among the hottest places to live in the United States, 18th in "Western region, under 100,000 population", and second within the state of Texas for 2005 according to Money magazine. In 2004, the city was named the top 100 places to live according to HomeRoute, a national real estate marketing company, identifies top American cities each year through its Relocate-America program. Cities are selected based on educational opportunities, crime rates, employment and housing data. The magazine started with statistics on 271 U.S. cities provided by OnBoard LLC, a real estate information company. These cities had the highest median household incomes in the nation and above average population growth. Also in 2004 and 2005, Sugar Land was awarded the “Fittest City in Texas,” population 50,000-100,000. For 2005, it was a tie between Sugar Land and Round Rock. The “Fittest City in Texas” awards program is a part of the Texas Roundup program, a statewide fitness initiative.
As Sugar Land is widely considered one of the wealthiest suburbs in the state, many celebrities live in and around Sugar Land, including Houston Texans' quarterback David Carr, Olympic gold medalist Tara Lipinski, former Houston Astros great Terry Puhl and Destiny's Child singer Kelly Rowland. Still, more celebrities simply keep houses in the upscale, but quaintly Sweetwater subdivision in the master-planned community of First Colony, such as Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O'Neal, and other local luminaries.
Sugar Land is the hometown and an area represented by former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of the United States House of Representatives, Texas District 22. As a result of this, it's no surprise that Sugar Land is widely considered to be a predominantly Republican area  and perhaps one of the largest Republican strongholds in the nation. Another politician from Sugar Land is Charlie Howard. He is another Republican and represents District 26 of the Texas House of Representatives.
Areas and communities of Sugar Land
Sugar Land is home to many master-planned communities featuring golf courses, country clubs, and lakes. The city has the most master-planned communities in Fort Bend County, which is home to the largest number of master-planned communities in the nation. The first master-planned community to be developed in Sugar Land was Sugar Creek. There are now a total of thirteen master-planned communities located in Sugar Land's city limits and its extraterritorial jurisdiction combined.
Northern Sugar Land
The northern portion of Sugar Land, sometimes referred to by residents and government officials as "north Sugar Land", is all the communities north of U.S. Highway 90A, but it also includes the subdivisions/areas of Venetian Estates, and Belknap/Brookside, which is just south of U.S. Highway 90A. Most of this area was the original city limits of Sugar Land when it was incorporated in 1959. Most outsiders are only aware about this part of the city when they think of Sugar Land. Located on the north side of U.S. Highway 90A is the former Imperial Sugar Company refinery and distribution center that was shut down in 2003, but the headquarter is still located within the city. This part of the city has two master-planned communities, Sugar Mill and the recent development of Woodbridge, outside of the city limits. Another recent mid-size residential development is the Glen Laurel community. To the east of northern Sugar Land is the Sugar Land Business Park. Many of the electronic and energy companies are located here. Sugar Land Business Park is the largest business and industrial area in the city.
Southern and southeastern Sugar Land
The largest economic and entertainment activities are in the areas of south and southeastern Sugar Land. Most of the population in the city limits are concentrated here. This area is all master-planned communities and it includes all of First Colony, the largest in Sugar Land encompassing 10,000 acres (40 km²). Other master-planned communities in this area are Sugar Creek, Sugar Lakes, Commonwealth, Avalon, and Riverstone. This area is the location of First Colony Mall, Sugar Land Town Square, new Sugar Land City Hall, and other major commercial areas.
This area boasts a wide range of recreational activities including three golf courses and country clubs. Other recreational facility is the Sugar Land Ice & Sports Center (formerly Sugar Land Aerodrome), home of the practice facility for the Houston Aeros.
Further southeastern, but north of the Brazos River is the new Riverstone master-planned community development of 2,800 acres (11 km²) with approximately 2,300 in Sugar Land's jurisdiction. This new community is immediately south of the Commonwealth and First Colony developments. There is plan for a golf course and country club located within Sugar Land's jurisdiction. The community also features many parks and man-made lakes.
Southwestern Sugar Land
Most of "Southwestern Sugar Land" is actually in the extraterritorial jurisdiction of the city. This area is sometimes referred to as the "other side of the river" because it is separated from the rest of Sugar Land's ETJ and the city itself by the Brazos River. Its culture and activities are different from other parts of Sugar Land's ETJ and the city itself as well due to a separation by the Brazos River. All of this area is in the Lamar Consolidated Independent School District. This area has two master-planned communities, Greatwood and River Park. Greatwood is 2,050 acre (8 km²) located south of U.S. Highway 59 with a public golf course surrounding the community and is almost at built-out. River Park, a 790 acre (3.2 km²) development, almost built out as well, is located north of U.S. with Texas Highway 99 traversing through the community. Other communities in this area are Canyon Gate on the Brazos, still in development, and Tara Colony, an older large subdivision which has a Richmond address but is actually in the extraterritorial jurisdiction of Sugar Land and is up for future annexation.
Western Sugar Land
The western portion of Sugar Land is partially in the city limits and partially in the extraterritorial jurisdiction. This area is west of Ditch "H", just west of Texas Highway 6 and north of the Brazos River. It is home to the 2,200 acre (8.9 km²) master-planned community of New Territory and the upcoming 2,018 acre (8.2 km²) development, Telfair. New Territory was built out in 2003 and Telfair will start building homes in early 2006. All of the land of what is now the upcoming Telfair community was a prison farm land owned by the Texas Department of Transportation. It was sold in 2003 and annexed to the city limits by Sugar Land in 2004. A new highway, Texas Highway 99, opened in 1994 is a major arterial in this area. North of this area, north of U.S. Highway 90A, is the Sugar Land Regional Airport and the Texas Department of Correction, Central Unit.
Sugar Land currently does not have a mass transit system. However, this could change as it has been a possible candidate for expansion of Houston's METRORail system by means of a planned commuter rail. Since many of Sugar Land's residents work in Houston, thus creating routine rush hour traffic along the city's main thoroughfare, U.S. Highway 59, there has been large support in the area for such a project.
- U.S. Highway 59, the major freeway running diagonally through the city, has undergone a major widening project in recent years to accommodate Sugar Land's daily commuters. The finished portion of the freeway east of Texas Highway 6 currently has eight main lanes with two diamond lanes and six continuous frontage road lanes. Currently, widening of U.S. Highway 59 is just west of Texas Highway 6 out to Texas Highway 99. It's also is expected to become Interstate 69, sometime in the near future.
- U.S. Highway 90A, a major highway running through Sugar Land from west to east and traverses through a historic area of the city, known as "Old Sugar Land". U.S. Highway 90A is currently on its way to be widened to an eight-lane highway with a 30-foot median between Texas Highway 99 and U.S. Highway 59.
- Texas Highway 6 is a major highway running from north to southeast Sugar Land and traverses through the 10,000 acre (40 km²) master-planned community of First Colony. Construction is about to start on a bridge over University Blvd and U.S. Highway 90A from First Colony Blvd to north of the railroad track at U.S. Highway 90A. When completed, it will have six main lanes and frontage roads.
- Texas Highway 99 is a new highway opened in 1994 with frontage roads but no main lanes yet. It currently traverses through the New Territory and River Park master-planned communities in Sugar Land's extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ), west of Sugar Land's current city limits. Construction will soon to start south of the U.S. Highway 59 at its current terminus. It will eventually passes through the master-planned community of Greatwood and other communites such as Canyon Gate at the Brazos and Tara Colony, all currently in Sugar Land's extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ), southwest of the current city limits. There are plans to annex all of these communities in the ETJ into the city limits in the near future.
- Texas F.M. 1876, widely known as Eldridge Road, is a north-south state highway in north Sugar Land. It traverses through many established areas and acts as the western border of the Sugar Land Business Park. Going north leads into the city of Houston and Harris County.
- Texas F.M. 2759, or Crabb River Road and Thompsons Road, is a rural state highway serving the far southwestern portion of Sugar Land's extraterritorial jurisdiction. The highway starts at the terminus of Texas Highway 99 at U.S. Highway 59 and traverses by the master-planned community of Greatwood and other communities such as Canyon Gate at the Brazos, Tara Colony, Royal Lake Estates, and eventually to the town of Thompsons.
- University Boulevard, formerly referred to as Texas Highway 6 Bypass south of U.S. Highway 90A and Burney Road Bypass north of U.S. Highway 90A, is a proposed major north-south to southeast arterial. It will eventually traverse through the master-planned communities of Sugar Mill, First Crossing, Telfair (formerly known as TX DOT Tract 4 & 5), Avalon, and Riverstone. Currently, a portion is completed from south of U.S. Highway 59 to the Commonwealth Blvd intersection, just west of the Avalon master-planned community. The other completed section is east of Texas Highway 6 as it traverse through the First Crossing master-planned commercial development and it dead ends just right before U.S. Highway 90A.
Sugar Land Regional Airport (formerly Sugar Land Municipal Airport) was purchased from a private interest in 1990 by the city of Sugar Land. Sugar Land Regional is the fourth largest airport within the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown Metropolitan Area. The airport handles approximately 350 aircraft operations per day.
The airport today mostly serves the area's general aviation (GA) aircraft. A new 20,000 square foot (1,900 m²) Terminal and a 60 acre (243,000 m²) GA complex, are currently under construction, with the terminal completion expected in Spring 2006. Sugar Land Regional briefly handled commercial passenger service during the mid-1990s via a now-defunct Texas carrier known as Conquest Airlines. For scheduled commercial service, Sugar Landers rely on Houston's two commercial airports, George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), 45 miles northeast, and William P. Hobby Airport (HOU), 30 miles east.
The city of Houston maintains a park that occupies 750 acres (3 km²) of land directly north of the Sugar Land Regional Airport and Sugar Land homeowners have built houses directly south of the airport, both factors that block airport expansion.
Law and government
Sugar Land operates under the Council-Manager form of government. Under this system, Council appoints the city manager, who acts as the chief executive officer of the government. The city manager carries out policy and administers city programs. All department heads, including the city attorney, police chief and fire chief, are ultimately responsible to the city manager. Sugar Land's composition of the City Council consists of a Mayor, four councilmembers to be elected by single-member districts and two councilmembers by at-large position.
There have been seven mayors in Sugar Land:
- T.E. Harman (1959-1961)
- Bill Little (1962-1967)
- C.E. McFadden (1968-1972)
- Roy Cordes, Sr. (1973-1981)
- Walter McMeans (1981-1986)
- Lee Duggan (1987-1996)
- Dean A. Hrbacek (1996-2002)
- David G. Wallace (2002 to present)
The Fort Bend Independent School District is the school district that serves almost all of the city of Sugar Land. The southwest portion of Sugar Land's extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) and some very small areas within the Sugar Land city limits are in the Lamar Consolidated Independent School District. LCISD serves the master-planned communities of Greatwood and River Park. Other communities in the ETJ served by Lamar Consolidated include Canyon Gate at the Brazos and Tara Colony.
Austin High School and Clements High School, both of Fort Bend ISD, have been recognized by Texas Monthly magazine in its list of the top 10 high schools in the state of Texas. In addition, Clements, Austin, and Elkins high schools ranked 313th, 626th, and 702nd, respectively, among the top 1000 schools in the United States by Newsweek's 2005 report.
There are many private schools in Sugar Land and the surrounding area as well.
Colleges and universities
Sugar Landers have access to higher education right where they live. Currently, there are two institutions located within the city of Sugar Land: Wharton County Junior College and the University of Houston System at Sugar Land.
UHS at Sugar Land is a multi-institution teaching center (MITC) for the four universities within the University of Houston System, which comprises of the University of Houston, UH–Clear Lake, UH–Downtown, and UH–Victoria. Currently, the programs and degrees offered at the Sugar Land teaching center are from UH–Downtown and UH–Victoria.
Media and entertainment
Sugar Land Town Square is the heart of entertainment district in Sugar Land and Fort Bend County. It has many upscale restaurants, sidewalk cafes, shopping venues, a first class hotel and conference center, mid-rise offices and homes, a public plaza, and the Sugar Land City Hall. Festival and important events take place in the plaza. Just outside of the Sugar Land Town Square district is First Colony Mall.
Sugar Land is home to the practice sites of the Houston Aeros and Houston Comets. Located just outside of the Sugar Land Town Square is the Sugar Land Ice and Sports Center (formerly Sugar Land Aerodrome), home of the Houston Aeros practice facility. It is also open to the public as an ice skating facility.
Many radio and television stations, whom they say is "Houston-based" actually broadcast from the Sugar Land and surrounding areas. Stations such as KPRC (Houston NBC Affiliate), KRIV (Houston's Fox Affiliate), KXTH (Houston's UPN Affiliate), and all of the Clear Channel radio stations in the Houston area are all broadcasting from this large commercialized area.
Sugar Land in film and television
A portion of the 1974 movie, The Sugarland Express, takes place in Sugar Land. Part of the set was filmed in Sugar Land as well. The movie's title spells the name of the city incorrectly, and it was among Steven Spielberg's first films, before he became famous. In a television feature production The Crooked E: The Unshredded Truth About Enron (2003) (TV) Sugar Land was mentioned as an afluent area to buy a house as did the main female character (Courtney).
- Fort Bend Star
- Fort Bend Sun
- Houston Chronicle
- Maps and aerial photos
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