County donates $50K to economic improvement plan

County commissioners approved finding the Bee Area Partnership $50,000 plus the donation of a building for its use as an office. The formation of this partnership brings together the numerous taxing entities throughout the county including the city, schools and college.

BEEVILLE – County leaders signed an agreement to fund the Bee Area Partnership $50,000 plus giving the group use of a building on Washington Street for its office.

“I am really excited about us moving forward with this,” County Judge Stephanie Moreno told county commissioners Monday, June 24. “The founding members, who are Evelyn Bethune, Tracy Florence and Brian Schneider, have been working on bylaws with Trace Morrill to get this moving as well as we’ve been working on getting this contract in place.”

The contract is one mirroring that in use by the Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corporation.

The county is agreeing to make the $50,000 yearly donation and give this partnership the use of the building at 120 N. Washington St. for $1 per year.

This building once belonged to the Joe Barnhart Foundation. In March last year, the foundation donated it to the county specifically for this purpose.

Since that donation, the county has been working to renovate this area, replacing the wooden floor in one section with concrete.

The walls inside were cleaned, textured and repainted.

The building, which at one time served as a dance studio, will house the offices of BAP.

According to the contract signed by the county commissioners, the purpose of this partnership is to stimulate, encourage and develop business within the county and to promote and advertise in an effort to attract conventions, visitors and businesses “for the economic benefit of Beeville and surrounding areas within Bee County.”

The executive director of the Bee Development Authority in the past has been tasked with economic development for the city and county.

The creation of this partnership will allow the BDA director to focus on the marketing of Chase Field and renting of its assets to companies.

Moreno also will be the county’s voting member on this partnership board.

“The city will also get a seat as well as the BDA,” she said.

Four additional members will come from the community — specifically business leaders.    

“We are excited to as which businesses they are,” Moreno said. “They are strong cornerstones in our community.”

The names of those board members are not being made available yet.

“I would ask that commissioners let me serve at least the first year so that we can get our economic developer hired,” Moreno said.

The city, county, college, school districts and local businesses created this partnership as a concerted effort to attract business to the area.

It is this partnership with local businesses which sets this initiative apart from other work done by groups such as the BDA.

Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 343-5221, or at