Since Mayor Janice Whitehead was elected to lead the Sealy City Council last year, a lot has changed in the local landscape.
A new city manager, Lloyd Merrell, was hired, and the council recently made announcements about new development on the horizon, including H-E-B grocery store, Starbucks and Chicken Express.
“It is such a privilege, it is such a joy to be able help Sealy grow and to help each of you in that endeavor,” Whitehead said.
She commended volunteers because their actions “reach far beyond the pocketbook and the almighty dollar.”
“Volunteers make the world a better place no matter the situation,” Whitehead said. “We can make anything happen if we work together. Volunteers do far more with far less than any [corporation] or government program.”
The mayor reflected on the year 2017, which included a microburst storm in May.
“It was a tragedy in a sense and for others it was a true blessing,” Whitehead said. “No one was killed.”
She commended the efforts of CenterPoint Energy, church groups, emergency responders and, once again, highlighted the efforts of local volunteers.
Hurricane Harvey followed just a few months later.
“Thanks to the good Lord, the city experienced minimal flooding,” Whitehead said, adding that city staff worked behind the scenes around the clock. “We had flooding, we had high water, but that water leveled quickly. Every police officer worked 24-hour shifts.”
Sealy Police also have met with school personnel to address safety policies in the wake of nationwide school shootings. In addition, police officers met with three local churches and one nursing home to discuss active shooter incidents.
The police department also reopened a 26-year-old murder case – Sealy’s only unsolved murder – and solved the case, extraditing suspect Blas Tierrablanca back to the U.S.
The city welcomed new businesses Prasek’s Hillje Smokehouse and Sika industrial plant. Several others are in the works.
Whitehead acknowledged that YMCA has removed its programs from Sealy but said the city has found a good private vendor to run the city pool and several volunteers have offered to operate other youth programs such as Little Dribblers.
The mayor also provided some insight on upcoming road projects as well as water and sewer upgrades.
“Things are going to be blowing and going,” Whitehead said.
Whitehead closed her “State of the City” address by thanking business owners and members of the community.
“It’s all of you,” she said. “You take my breath away. On behalf of the city of Sealy, I want to say thank you for caring.”