Crockett City Council / CEIDC Hold Joint Meeting

Future of Angelina College Discussed

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

CROCKETT – The Crockett City Council and the Crockett Economic and Industrial Development Corporation (CEIDC) Board of Directors met in a joint special meeting on Monday, Dec. 17.

Once the meeting was called to order – just after 11 am – both entities retired into executive session.

The purpose of the executive session, as stated on the agenda, was the “… deliberation regarding real property. Discussion regarding lease, exchange and value of Angelina College property.”

After nearly 90 minutes, the city council and CEIDC Board emerged from behind closed doors. In a move that came as a surprise to no one, no action was taken by either group.

Once the meeting was adjourned, Crockett City Administrator John Angerstein was questioned about the purpose of the meeting.

“We were discussing the transition of Angelina College as far as exiting both the building and the lease – being able to terminate the lease properly,” Angerstein said.

Angerstein said there were several issues which would impact both the city and the CEIDC which need to be discussed. He was also asked specifically if Angelina College would be vacating its current location and the city administrator reported the city had received a letter the previous week indicating the college’s intentions.

The letter, dated Dec. 11, had been sent to the CEIDC and stated, “This letter serves as notice that Angelina College is terminating the lease for the Crockett Career and Technical College, located at 1505 S. 4th St. Crockett, TX 75835, effective Dec. 31, 2018. The College will vacate the facility on or before the effective date.”

The letter further indicated the college would remove “… all College owned furniture, equipment and other possessions prior to the effective date. Please note, the College has agreed to transfer ownership of the welding lab equipment to Crockett ISD and the ISD will remove the related equipment from the facility.”

Utilities at the building – under the name of Angelina College – will also cease on Dec. 31.

“There is a meeting at 9 am on Wednesday, Dec. 19 at the Civic Center where Angelina College, SFA, the school district (Crockett ISD), ourselves (the city) and the CEIDC will all be there for a community meeting to let people know their future in our town,” the city administrator said.

When asked where Angelina College might be moving to, Angerstein said he did not know but added “… from my understanding, they’re staying here but just vacating the building.”

Questioned if the relocation might be to the former state school property, Angerstein said he wasn’t sure and added the college had been working with the hospital in regard to facility usage.

Angerstein was also asked specifically what the city planned to do with the facility Angelina College was vacating.

“All of that was not able to be discussed at this meeting, but like the mayor (Joni Clonts) said on Monday, we’re open for business. I think it should be a building we can leverage to bring in jobs,” he said.

Last week, a company hosted a job fair at the Crockett Civic Center. At said job fair, representatives from the company requested anonymity for themselves and the company. The company representatives had expressed the choice for a new facility was down to a pair of cities – Crockett and Jasper.

Angerstein was also questioned if said company might take over the soon to be empty facility.

“There’s a possibility. It depends on how those discussions take place and how they go,” he said.

The city administrator was further asked what would happen if the company chose Jasper.

“Then, we go on to the next big thing,” he replied. “We’ll hopefully find another company. That’s what I was saying. That facility can still be used to Crockett’s advantage and we can leverage it for other businesses.”

The purpose of the Monday meeting was to bring both the city and CEIDC together to make sure the two entities were on the same page, he explained.

As the discussion continued, Angerstein was questioned about the role SFA played in this scenario and when they got involved.

“They got involved some time back and that is what we hope for this community meeting on Wednesday. I don’t want to speak for them, but Angelina and SFA both plan to be present to give public notice. Both the city and CEIDC are hosting this meeting. We want to get all of us together and release some news to the public – to let them know the future,” he said.

James Gentry, Executive Director of the CEIDC, was also asked about his thoughts on the matter.

Gentry was asked if he felt the joint meeting accomplished anything and he replied in the affirmative.

“I think there was an airing of concerns and clarification of information on both a historical perspective and from the standpoint of moving forward in that we do have a vison of where we want to go. It also showed the city of Crockett and CEIDC are working together for the development and betterment of our entire community,” Gentry said.

The CEIDC Executive Director was also questioned about the role SFA had in the matter.

“That has not been formalized. I haven’t received a formal declaration of what the whole plan is. I know that over the last two years Angelina and SFA have been talking about doing some things jointly, whether it’s here or somewhere else,” Gentry said.

As far as his expectations for the future, Gentry said he hoped “… Crockett would see success come from this. It is not an exercise in futility, but we are able to benefit from expansion and grow from an education standpoint. Also, that we are in a position to attract businesses like the one that was here as well as other businesses. I know there are other businesses looking at our community right now.”

“If we show a positive effort,” Gentry continued, “we all win. I don’t see any negatives. It’s like they said – it’s a perfect storm where things come to benefit us all. Not only Crockett, but this whole county. Anything I can do to help bring prosperity to this county, is what we are trying to do.”

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at [email protected].

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