SHSU, Developer Discuss Park
“We have the land; we don’t have any money,” said Brian D’Agostino, representing the owners of 60 acres of the site at Ellisor Road and Highway 19, situated within the city’s extra territorial jurisdiction.
Following presentations by architect Ken Tipton of the Baton Rouge-based Tipton and Associates and research park incubation expert Charles D’Agostino, citizen Charles Smither Jr. suggested partners work together to alleviate some of the initial burden on Huntsville taxpayers. Such a partnership might also buy some goodwill among citizens who are jaded about past utility extensions to areas that never saw to fruition the development that was expected, he said.
A hotel and conference center that would adjoin the research park would bring in hundreds of visitors to Huntsville through attendance at conventions and SHSU Bearkat sporting events, he said.
City tourism officials and council members have noted that Huntsville does not have a hotel large enough to house visiting NCAA teams who play the Bearkats so that those teams must stay at Bryan-College Station hotels.
The research park also would give SHSU the room it desperately needs to grow, said Al Hooten, vice president of finance and operations at the university. Many nonacademic programs would move to the research park, freeing up space on the main campus for students. Without the research park, SHSU might have to cap enrollment as has the University of Houston and Texas A and M.
SHSU is land locked....Unless we can create more space on the main campus, we’ll have to cap enrollment,” Hooten told council. Something must be done to accommodate a student population expected to hit 22,000 to 25,000 in the near future.
The June 27 presentation on the proposed SHSU Research Park is available at the City of Huntsville website.