The City of Melissa has seen great change over the past 10 years. City Manager Jason Little described that change at the Melissa Chamber of Commerce’s monthly luncheon last Tuesday.
“Look at Melissa in 2005,” Little said pointing above him to a projection showing a map of the city by Google Earth.
“North Creek was just starting. Hunter’s Creek was just starting,” he said. “Harry McKillop didn’t exist. Liberty did not connect over to Santa Fe or Downtown. The Villages did not extend past City Hall. City Hall was still located on 121.”
Development has exploded in Melissa since then, along with the population. According to the City of Melissa’s 2016-2017 Annual Budget, population in 2007 was roughly 4,047. At the luncheon Little said the city’s current population is around 10,000.
Comprehensive city planning has been at the forefront of the city staff’s minds Little said.
“One of the highest priorities we’re working on is how are we connecting every neighborhood to neighborhoods with trails on them, sidewalks, etcetera,” Little said. “And are we connecting those parks to more regional amenities like a sports facility or some other land we’ve recently acquired?”
The vast majority of the development has stemmed from road infrastructure, Little said. The Highway 75 project that starts at Telephone Road and goes to Northern Melissa Road is about to be finished.
Out of curiosity, Little said he went back into TxDOT records to find out the number of cars Highway 75 supported per day in 2010. He said it carried about 66,000 cars per day, and two years ago that number increased to 94,000.
Also under construction is State Highway 121 which is being widened from Highway 5 to the Outer Loop.
“In another year or so 121 very well could be wrapping up or about to wrap up,” he said. “Just (look at) the volume of growth there on that roadway — 18,000 cars a day in 2010 to almost 24,000 today.”
Another big expansion to keep in mind is Highway 5, which Little said TxDOT was planning on expanding in 2028.
“Late last year the city started to get some information from TxDOT that they’re actually going to advance that project,” he said. “It’s very likely to start in 2019.”
Construction on a new high school will break ground later this year and construction on a sports facility has already begun.
Several business developers have also shown interest in Melissa. Earlier this month it was announced at a city council meeting that Buc-ee’s was considering purchasing a 48-acre site at the northwest corner of Highway 75 and SH 121.
The travel stop would employ 175-225 people and that would make Buc-ee’s the city’s largest employer, Little said, if they decide to come in.
Businesses like Buc-ee’s are unique, he said, because they draw in travelers who otherwise would not be stopping in the city. Anywhere from 14,000-16,000 cars stop at the travel stop each day.
After Little’s presentation, the big questions attendees had was when a grocery store would be coming to the city. Little could not comment on those plans but said as the city grows, more businesses will want to move in.
Approximately 60 people attended the luncheon held at the Hurricane Creek Country Club. Normally attendance for the luncheon is around 20, but this month’s event drew a larger crowd Executive Director of the Melissa Chamber of Commerce Bill Jones said because of the subject matter.
“Everybody is interested in Melissa, what’s happening and what is going to happen,” Jones said. “So that probably drew a few more people than we normally get.”
A quarterly luncheon will be held next month on March 21 in conjunction with the Howe, Anna, and Van Alstyne Chambers of Commerce.