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Fort Bend County Identifies Key Elements to Sustain Future Growth

Published Nov 01, 2023 by Hailea Schultz

Future of the Houston Region Panel

2023 Future of the Houston Region Panel Courtesy of Sugar Land Office of Economic Development

Fort Bend County continuously ranks as one of the fastest-growing counties in the region, as its population has tripled since 2000 and is expected to skyrocket to 1.8 million residents by 2050, according to Woods & Poole. 

To sustain future growth, county leaders must prioritize key elements including redevelopment, health care access, educational attainment and community collaboration, as discussed at the Partnership’s annual Future of the Houston Region.  

Sugar Land Office of Economic Development Director Elizabeth Huff highlighted the city’s ongoing efforts to redevelop historical buildings including the nearly 100-year-old Imperial Sugar char house. The redevelopment would transform the iconic building into a dynamic mixed-use development, although the project is still in the works. 

"Redevelopment is our big focus,” said Huff. “Our vision is to build a life better than anyone can imagine."

Adding to redevelopment, Memorial Hermann is increasing its footprint in Sugar Land to meet the demand of Fort Bend’s rapidly growing population. In 2022, Memorial Hermann announced a $231 million expansion project that includes a new medical plaza that is expected to be completed in 2024, a tower that will add medical beds and a neonatal unit, and expand key outpatient areas such as emergency rooms, CT and X-ray capabilities and more. 

“17 years ago, we moved from our [site] in Sugar Land because we had outgrown our location,” said Malisha Patel, SVP and CEO of Memorial Hermann Sugar Land. “We're now a 179-bed hospital with more services to meet the needs of the community. We've seen this growth throughout the county, not just at Memorial Hermann.”

In an evolving transition, Patel pointed to the lack of healthcare workers and urged that there is an opportunity to bridge this gap through collaboration with local school districts and higher education institutions to meet the growing community’s healthcare needs.

Lamar CISD Superintendent Roosevelt Nivens echoed collaboration is key to bolstering the region’s future workforce. Nivens emphasized that many of his students have never left Fort Bend County, so Lamar CISD is actively working to develop new programs and activities to give students the opportunity to see what is possible outside of the area.

Although Fort Bend County leads the region in educational attainment with 48 percent of adults having a bachelor's degree or higher, work still needs to be done to ensure the county’s workforce remains educated.

"Everything is on the table in Lamar,” said Nivens. “Our doors are open to anyone that wants to partner with us as long as you have good intentions for my kids."

Through community collaboration, Fort Bend County can successfully sustain its growth. As Missouri City Mayor Robin Elackatt stated, “Fort Bend County has greater opportunities ahead for those living there today and for those coming in the future."

Discover more about Fort Bend County.

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