City Council OKs incentives to lure businesses to downtown Tomball

March 7, 2013 5:22:07 PM PST
Open up a shop in downtown Tomball and pay less -- that's the message from city leaders.

Tomball City Council has passed a new ordinance meant to draw more businesses to the downtown area by offering new tax incentives.

The cole slaw, along with the hush puppies, at Snookies are bottomless and served to every table. But owner Racheal Holyfield almost didn't open the doors four months ago when she was told about the water and sewage permits.

"I believe it was over $50,000 on being able to complete and move forward on the establishment and being able to open," Holyfield said. "It was breathtaking.

The sewer and water impact fees were deterring mom-and-pop shops from historic downtown, so the city council and mayor decided to waive them for the next 24 months, hoping to attract more small business owners.

"Probably the last five years we've really been focusing on looking for the heart of downtown and a place where people can come. The families can come and spend time," Tomball Mayor Gretchen Fagan said. "Businesses that are revitalizing, mom and pops that are coming in -- very different than what you would see at some of the big box areas."

Now the newly opened Barns at the Depot features three new venues, including a 50's style soda fountain with homemade ice cream and hand-drawn sodas.

"We didn't have many unique restaurants or places to eat aside from your chain operations, which are in the other part of Tomball. But Old Town Tomball needed something different with a little pizzazz," owner Nonnie Maynard said.

Now new incentives are also bringing tradition back to Old Town Tomball.

"The recipe has actually been in my family for over a hundred years. And we got to bring that tradition here to Snookies in Tomball," Holyfield said.

The Barns at the Depot also features a wine bar. All the venues have employees creating even more of an economic engine in Old Town Tomball.
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