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LeTourneau University president to lead I-20 task force

By Richard Yeakley
Jan. 10, 2013 at 10 p.m.

The president of LeTourneau University will lead the I-20 Corridor Task Force, Mayor Jay Dean announced Thursday at the City Council meeting.

Dale Lunsford, who served as the chairman of the Longview Chamber of Commerce in 2012, will head the group charged with identifying methods to draw more visitors into Longview from the heavily trafficked corridor that passes through the city.

"In the coming days and weeks, we will be putting together that list (of task force members) so that over the next 60-90 days, recommendations could be made to the city ... to really and truly get this thing accomplished to take advantage of the valuable resources we have in the south Longview and along the I-20 corridor," Dean said.

Lunsford has been a vocal proponent of renovation of the city entrances from the interstate since he arrived in Longview in 2007.

"I-20 development is a significant opportunity for Longview economic growth, and I look forward to the good work that the task force will do," Lunsford said.

The task force was one of many items addressed in the first council meeting of the year.

The council sped through the discussion, consent and zoning items after two thorough reports were presented at the start of the meeting.

The first report was the recommendation from the Animal Shelter Task Force advising the city's next step toward addressing a concern of overcrowding and euthanasia rates at the Humane Society of Northeast Texas Shelter.

The committee met for about three months before Thursday's meeting. Longview veterinarian Ken Glaze presented the recommendations of the investigation that took the task force across the country visiting animal shelters.

Council members also heard an annual report on the City of Longview Workforce Diversity Plan from Director of Human Resources Karri Hyko.

The Workforce Diversity Plan has been in place since 2010, and Hyko identified three-year trends of growth and decrease in the application and hiring of diverse candidates by the city.

"When we talk about the term diversity - it is not intended to be completely synonymous with minority," Hyko said.

She clarified that while diversity in the work place does include the hiring of residents from minority groups, it also is concerned with variables such as culture, background, training and even religion.

In other business, city officials approved a zoning change requested by Abby Development of Tyler that will open 13 acres east of Hollywood Theaters for the development of an eight-building, 220-unit apartment complex.

Previously, Ingrid Self, the city's assistant director of development services, said needed infrastructure, such as water lines provided by Tryon Road Water Corp., would have to be extended to the property before construction begins.

Dean also made a formal proclamation of Sunday as Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Centennial Founder's Day. Longview District 3 Councilwoman Kasha Williams is a member of the Longview alumnae chapter of the national sorority that will be celebrating the organization's 100th birthday with events throughout the weekend.



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