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Mayor Don Denbow reported that economic activity remains on the upswing during the June meeting of the Economic Partnership Group. Despite recent rains slowing construction on several ongoing projects, Navarro County received three new industrial project leads.

Corsicana and Navarro County, Economic Development Director John Boswell reported that Texas’s 313 tax incentives, which limit the appraised value on their property for the purposes of local Texas public school district property taxes were not reauthorized during the 87th Legislative session, which ended last week.

The incentives allow agreements between school districts and qualifying companies to limit the exposure of both the company and the district which may affect a district’s state funding if a sizable influx of revenue is recorded over a short time.

The incentives are due to expire in December of 2022, unless action is taken in a special session of the Texas Legislature.

Aric Bonner of RE/MAX Reality reported that both the Corsicana and Navarro County housing markets remained strong for sellers. The overwhelming majority of houses sold in Corsicana were sold at or below the $200,000 mark. April’s median home price decreased 2.7% to $166,700 with active listings also decreasing over the same time last year.

The number of homes sold in Navarro County increased by 47% compared to April 2020.

Director of Engineering, Darwin Myers, gave the Planning and Zoning update, which included seven Certificates of Occupancy issued in May. Two commercial construction Projects are underway, with two more under review. Tax valuations in May equaled $1.246 million, totaling $3.1 million, year to date.

Tourism reported more online and walk-in interest at the welcome center. An upcoming event this month is the Dixie Youth Baseball Tourney, scheduled for June 26 through 28.

Navarro College District President, Dr. Kevin Fegan and Guy Featherston, Dean of Midlothian Campus and Health Professions, provided updates on the next steps of House Bill 885 which recently passed both the Texas House and Senate. The bill would allow Navarro College to offer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree Program in Corsicana.

The bill cleared final hurdles and as of June 1, is now awaiting Gov. Greg Abbott’s signature. The Governor is expected to sign the legislation by the June 15, deadline required by state statute. The bill was necessary to amend the required tax valuation of $6 billion to include the region the college serves.

“This was a natural extension for us to offer that BSN degree especially because of what we already offer with the Registered Nurse portion we already offer,” Fegan said.

“It broadens the whole spectrum of health profession programs for us.”

The next steps for the BSN program include the accreditation processes including the Texas Higher-Education Coordinating Board, and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, then The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.

A target start date for the program is the fall 2023 semester, with the first graduation occurring in August 2024.

Fegan also discussed workforce development, credential and training opportunities, available at Navarro College. He spoke of Navarro College’s flexibility of time and willingness to work with companies and stressed partnerships with local school systems, and the community to assist students and all parties in order to meet their needs.

It was announced that the Heritage Bowl, formerly known as the Corsicana Bowl, will be held on Dec. 4.

Economic Development Committee meetings are held at 9 a.m. the first Tuesday of the month, inside the Nancy Roberts Meeting room at the Corsicana Public Library.

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