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March 2009


Brief Bytes

by Editorial Staff

Golf Drives Texas to the Green

Golf thrives in Texas, even as other states struggle to keep courses open.

With its more than 900 golf courses, the golf industry contributed $7.4 billion to the state economy in 2006, including $2.4 billion in wages generated by 99,000 golf-related jobs, according to a 2008 study by Golf 20/20, a collaboration of golf industry associations, manufacturers and course owners.

San Antonio, a top destination for golfers, will open the Tournament Players Club in 2010. The project, which includes two Professional Golfers Association Tour-ready courses designed by Greg Norman and Pete Dye, will serve as the new venue for the Valero Texas Open.

The city recently restored its historic Brackenridge Park Golf Course, the state’s first public course, with a $4.5 million facelift. For information on San Antonio golf, visit Golf San Antonio at www.golfsanantonio.org.

(Tracey Lamphere)

Texas Road Needs a Wee Bit Pricey

A recent report by the 2030 Committee, a blue-ribbon panel appointed by Texas Transportation Commission Chairwoman Deirdre Delisi, indicates that the state should spend up to $313 billion over the next two decades on projects to ensure continued mobility and safety on the state’s roads.

The independent report analyzed factors including population growth, freight movements, international trade flows, traffic delays and the condition of existing roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

Elements of projected spending needs include $89 billion for pavement, $36 billion for bridges, $171 billion for urban mobility projects and $17 billion for rural mobility and safety.

For more information, visit the 2030 Committee’s Web site at texas2030committee.tamu.edu.

(Bruce Wright)

UT-Austin Contest
Sparks Innovation

The Social Innovation Competition, a worldwide student contest sponsored by the University of Texas RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service and Dell Inc., attempts to turn classroom lessons into global innovation.

Online votes and a judges’ panel will determine who wins a $50,000 prize. Three finalists will present their innovations on May 7 in Austin.

“This contest is meant to engage the most students and to get them to use the skills they’ve learned in college to create a social change,” says Heather Alden, program coordinator for the RGK Center.

In 2008, University of Virginia students won with Husk Power Systems, a company that uses rice husks to generate power for underdeveloped villages in India. To view Social Innovation Competition projects and cast your vote, visit www.dellsocialinnovationcompetition.com.

(Tracey Lamphere)

Super Anticipation

The National Football League’s (NFL) Super Bowl XLV will be played in 2011 in the Dallas Cowboys’ new Arlington home. Preparations for the event, still more than two years away, have already begun.

“When you host something of this size and importance, it’s really important to do it right that first time,” says Bill Lively, president and CEO of the North Texas Super Bowl Host Committee (NTSBHC).

The game, along with the events leading up to it, will result in at least $400 million in estimated economic impact, and opportunities will abound. Concerts, performances, productions and the game itself will create more than 2,000 jobs and require as many as 18,000 volunteers. About 24,000 hotel rooms await the more than 150,000 visitors expected in the four-county region served by the NTSBHC.

Texas has recent Super Bowl experience. Houston hosted the championship affair in 2004. The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts estimated the economic impact of that game was about $330 million. In the end, making a splash and attracting repeat business is the goal.

“One mission in this is to do it so well that all the parties who make the judgment on this have such a great experience that the NFL comes back,” Lively says.

For more information about Super Bowl XLV, visit www.northtexassuperbowl.com.

(Clint Shields)

Preserving Texas History Through Film

The Texas Film Commission recently launched the Texas Moving Image Archive Program in partnership with the Texas Archive of the Moving Image (TAMI) in an effort to preserve rarely seen windows into Texas history and culture. The initiative supports the discovery, preservation and digitization of rare moving images, including home movies, educational films, training videos and locally produced film and television.

For more information on the Texas Moving Image Archive Program, or to view an online video library featuring archived films, visit the Texas Film Commission’s Web site at www.governor.state.tx.us/film/resources/moving_image_archive/.

(Michael Castellon)

Parkland Hospital in Dallas  is scheduled to be replaced in 2014.  Photo courtesy of Parkland Hospital

Voters Approve Billions in Bonds

Despite the nation’s financial climate, Texas voters approved more than $3.8 billion in bonds in last November’s local bond elections, according to results compiled by state and local government consulting firm Strategic Partnerships Inc. (SPI).

Texans approved funding for capital improvement projects including infrastructure construction projects, park improvements and other purchases. Voters approved at least one proposition in 48 of the 63 November 2008 bond proposals or 85 percent of total dollars, according to SPI.

The largest project on the November ballots was a $747 million bond election in Dallas County to replace Parkland Memorial Hospital with a new hospital. Bond funding will pay for approximately 60 percent of the $1.3 billion facility. Hospital revenues and private donations will cover the remaining costs. The hospital is tentatively scheduled for completion in 2014.

For a complete listing of bond proposals that passed in the November elections or more information, visit www.spartnerships.com or contact Reagan Weil at (512) 531-3917 or rweil@spartnerships.com.

(Karen Hudgins)

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