'Imagine Lubbock Together' with Higher Taxes

'Imagine Lubbock Together' with Higher Taxes

Three years ago the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce wanted to put together a committee to determine the future direction of the City of Lubbock. “Imagine Lubbock Together” was created and the chamber spend nearly $5,000 to hire a consultant to work with the chamber and Imagine Lubbock Together and come up with a strategic vision plan for the city.

The organization held small and large public forums early in process where citizens were asked to come up with ideas and priorities for the city going into the future. At many of these events, citizens were put into smaller focus groups and asked to come up with things they would like to see happen in Lubbock, but not to think about the cost or who would end up paying for the projects.

After a series of events Imagine Lubbock Together launched what they called the “Implementation Phase” last July. The organization has begun to meet with groups representing eight key areas that they determined were focus points moving forward.

One of the main focus points of Imagine Lubbock Together has been to redevelop downtown Lubbock. Like many other cities in the United States, Lubbock has seen its downtown area become a ghost town while other areas of the city flourish. This has caused concern among some city leaders and those at the chamber of commerce. 

On Tuesday night Imagine Lubbock Together brought citizens up to speed with the actions they have taken as well as partnerships they have engaged in. Members of Imagine Lubbock Together pointed to successful fundraising for a new performing arts center, a new health task force called Healthy Lubbock, and progress in downtown redevelopment as signs of progress.

While the organization spent most their time discussing partnerships, they are also still in favor of pushing new projects in Lubbock. In the last legislative session, members of Imagine Lubbock Together and the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce approached state lawmakers to push legislation to allow Lubbock to pass a 1 cent sales tax increase in order to fund projects developed by Imagine Lubbock Together. Their efforts were rebuffed by lawmakers but members of the organization have said they will continue to work to pass a sales tax increase. So far, they have not listed what projects they would fund with taxpayer money.

According to KFYO-AM Connie Wharton, committee chair of Imagine Lubbock Together, has talked about balancing the needs versus the wants of the city but has said, “if we only provide basic services, then it’s not going to be a very good community to live in”.

Imagine Lubbock Together has promised the community more updates as they continue to pursue projects and partnerships that may or may not need taxpayer money in order to meet the end goal. Just what is that goal and what are those projects? Details remain to be seen.

Follow Chad Hasty on Twitter @ChadHastyRadio.