The Prairie View 4B Economic Development Corporation (EDC) held its regular board meeting on August 30. Member Thaddeus Singleton presided over the meeting while the board awaits election of a new president. The board’s agenda included a presentation regarding the reopening of Zippy’s Full Service Restaurant and Community Hall on Owens Road in Prairie View, an update on the EDC’s website development, and a presentation about the condition of Tapscott Park, which still lacks working bathrooms after more than 5 years.
Conflicting City meetings made it difficult for J.J. Johnson, the EDC’s bookkeeper to make his formal presentation on the EDC budget forms. EDC board member and Councilmember Wendy Williams managed to appear and answer before departing to a simultaneous City Council meeting.
Charles Zech, the EDC’s counsel advised the Board that several items were not appropriate for funding from the EDC. Those agenda items considered outside of4B’s funding scope included paying Checkers Restaurant workers for lost wages due to a business shut down August 10 through 1 1 , authorizing $5400 to the City of Prairie View for updating its zoning map, and ffnding a $4500 request for the Community Engagement Board.
The Checkers frnding request followed a shutdown ordered by Mayor Brian Rowland when Perry’s Plumbing, owned by Councilmember Waymond Perry, was frying to fix a leak at the Checkers premises. Mayor Rowland insisted that leak repairs required a pennit and ordered the City of Prairie View Police to close the restaurant, but had no statute showing a pennit requirement when the repair does not alter a plumbing system. After the restaurant closed, workers were sent home, resulting in lost pay. Dwayne Charleston received a grant to fund the second volume of a Prairie View Magazine, focusing on the city’s agricultural roots for this issue.
The EDC also considered staffng issues for an offce manager and an Interim Executive Director. Several months ago, the EDC hired an Executive Director and requested Mayor Rowland place this item on the City Council’s agenda for consideration and approval, as required. Despite repeated requests, Mayor Rowland refused to add the agenda request to the Council’s agenda, leaving the EDC in limbo. With gant applications to review, business contacts to develop, and new projects on its plate, such as Councilmember Waymond Perry’s Young Entrepreneur Project, the EDC overlooked communicating with their original Executive Director pick about serving as an interim director. Mayor Brian Rowland joined the EDC’s meeting but did not offer any explanation as to his continued refusal to add the Executive Director position to Council ‘s agenda. The EDC will meet twice in September, and possibly convene a special meeting to revisit the matter.
By: Sylvia Cedillo