Valley Ranch Town Center ground breaking began April 2015.

Twenty years ago, the East Montgomery County Improvement District (EMCID) opened its doors in a small office on the second floor of the Wells Fargo building in New Caney with a mission of recruiting businesses and encouraging community development within the East Montgomery County area. To commemorate its 20th anniversary, EMCID invites the community to join them in a small celebration Wednesday, Dec. 19, at 5 p.m. in the EMCID Complex atrium at 21575 U.S. Highway 59.

“EMCID and the East Montgomery County area have come a long way in the last two decades,” said Frank McCrady, EMCID president and CEO.

“A great example is to look and see the growth with retail centers, master-planned communities, I-69 and the Grand Parkway – none of which existed in 1998,” he said.

East Montgomery County Improvement District building construction during 2001-2002.

EMCID was created through Senate Bill 921 and approved by voters in 1997, enabling the organization to collect a $.01-$.015 sales tax on all sales taking place within the district’s 158 square miles. In the past 20 years, sales tax revenue has increased from $1.7 million in its initial year to an estimated $11.2 million at the end of the current fiscal year. That revenue is used to promote and maintain board-approved economic and community development activities, such as providing financial incentives to businesses that move to East Montgomery County or expand within the district, awarding community development grants to nonprofit organizations, cities, and police and fire departments, holding festivals and events, and offering scholarships to all high school graduates within the district.

EMCID has been instrumental in bringing several developments to the area such as the Industrial Park, home to companies including the Walmart Distribution Center, Keysteel, Liberty Precast and YMER Technology.

Working in conjunction with the Signorelli Company, EMCID’s incentives helped turn what would have been a residential community with a grocery store into the bustling Valley Ranch Town Center at I-69 and the Grand Parkway, with retail, dining options and a planned entertainment district with an amphitheater. The Town Center’s future depended heavily on EMCID’s lobbying to keep the Grand Parkway on its current path.

Seeing a need to strengthen post-secondary education among students in East Montgomery County, EMCID created the East Montgomery County Scholarship Foundation in 2004 to provide scholarships to all students who seek to expand their knowledge and skills. That same year, EMCID launched the East Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation, a nonprofit subsidiary that is separate from EMCID, to assist with economic development plans by utilizing federal and local funding sources for businesses wishing to relocate or expand within the district.

As East Montgomery County continues to grow, district officials said EMCID will expand to meet retail, commercial and industrial business needs as well as enhance the quality of life for residents for years to come.