Waller County considers nonprofit partnership, cancels burn ban, addresses Woods Road improvements

By R. Hans Miller | News Editor
Posted 9/15/20

Waller County Commissioners heard a proposal for a partnership for vocational skills, from True Believers Church out of Prairie View, lifted the county’s burn ban and discussed improvements to …

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Waller County considers nonprofit partnership, cancels burn ban, addresses Woods Road improvements

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Waller County Commissioners heard a proposal for a partnership for vocational skills, from True Believers Church out of Prairie View, lifted the county’s burn ban and discussed improvements to Woods Road at Its Sept. 9 meeting.

The court heard from Pastor Thadeous Singleton of The True Believers Church located at 21131 Pine Island Road in Prairie View. Singleton described a program the church has offered a program in partnership with Golden Triangle Empowerment Center to help those who have served prison time remain, or who may be at risk, out of jail and find the vocational skills they need. The program also has the capability of partnering with local schools to establish vocational education improvements. The program includes about 150 courses to provide job skills and mentorship to prevent a return to the cycle some people with criminal records can find themselves in, Singleton said.

“Our goal is to reduce the likelihood of people getting caught up in recidivism (and) going back to prison by giving them life skills (and) the ability to resolve conflict through mentorship,” Singleton said.

The church has a roughly 10,000 square foot facility to host the program, Singleton said.

Commissioners did not formalize support for the program; however, court members voiced general support for the program’s success and Commissioner Justin Beckendorff recommended the church reach out to county staff who help coordinate similar programs and focus on early intervention.

“I think there’s a huge demand for people with those vocational skills like plumbers and electricians,” Beckendorff said. “You don’t have to go to a  four-year institution and have $100,000 in student loans to get (ahead). Master electricians or a plumber, you know, they’re making almost $100,000 a year.”

County Judge Trey Duhon said he was excited to have Singleton and his associates present the program because improvements in the county aren’t just something that should be handed down from the government, but a collaborative effort between the government and the community. Duhon suggested Singleton speak with the Waller County District Attorney.

Commissioner Jeron Barnett said he had been speaking with Singleton about this program and similar options for some time as a way to bridge the gap between county government and the community.

“I think that this is a way for us to work with the community (and) also show the community that, you know, your government cares more about you than just your tax base (and) your manufacturing role, but we also care about the core of what makes us all better and what makes us all better and what makes us all tick is our families,” Barnett said.

Woods Road

Court also discussed a proposal for engineering services from EHRA, Inc., a Houston-based engineering firm, for designing improvements to Woods Road between Highway 90 and I-10 near the Amaazon distribution center just east of Brookshire.

Waller County Engineer Yancy Scott said the project would involve adding turn lanes onto Woods Road that would allow the commercial vehicle traffic there to navigate the intersection more safely.

“There’s so much truck traffic and general traffic – you’ve got (trucks from) Amazon backed up onto US 90, … trying to get into the facility,” Scott said.

Scott said the roadways in the area service not only Amazon traffic but also Goya and other plants existing or being built in the area.

Woods Road itself would be expanded from a two-lane section of road to a four-lane roadway that would cost an estimated total of about $731,000, court members said.

Commissioner Justin Beckendorff pointed out that traffic can sometimes be backed up from Brookshire to Woods Road along I-10 and that the project would help with that issue.

Associated with the improvements to the roadways in the area was a discussion on the repair of railroad crossings by Union Pacific near Goya.

The action to begin work on Woods Road was approved unanimously. However, the engineering will need to be completed prior to construction beginning.

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