Newcomers seeking a refuge from their busy lives will find Texas 288 to be a great place to put down roots.  Residents enjoy easy access to festivals and major events held in downtown Houston, at Hermann Park, the Houston Zoo and the Museum District.  Major sporting and entertainment events at Reliant Center, Minute Maid Park, Toyota Center and the New Dynamo Stadium are easy to get to via Texas 288.

In the 2010 Census, Houston was the most populated city in Texas with 2,099,451 residents, and growing 7.5 percent since the 2000 Census.  Houston is the fourth largest city in the United States, and Texas is the second most populated state with 25,145,561.  A healthy business climate and family-friendly cities make Texas a great place to live, work and play.

Today, there are more Fortune 500 companies located in Texas than any other state in the union.  The Texas unemployment rate has been at, or below the national average, and Texas is currently adding jobs at a steady rate.

The population of Pearland, Alvin, Manvel and Friendswood grew from 163,229 in 2000 to 243,221 in 2010, a 49 percent increase.  Pearland, with a population approaching 100,000, is the largest city in Brazoria County and one of the most diverse communities in the Houston area.

Brazoria County is 53% white, 28% Hispanic, 12% African-American and 5% Asian.  The median age in Brazoria County and Fort Bend County is 35 and Galveston County is 37.  The median age for Harris County residents is 32, much less than the U.S. median age of 37.  Texas is the second-youngest state in the nation with a median age of 33.

Brazoria County ranked among the top Gulf Coast counties for new business growth from 2009 to 2011 according to Site Selection magazine.  Brazoria County tied for ninth place with 14 new plants and expansions.  Harris County took the top position in the report.

The Texas 288 Corridor encompasses a large geographic area extending from central Houston to the Texas Gulf Coast.  The corridor is anchored on the north by Pearland, the fastest growing suburb of Houston, and Friendswood, the only community in the Greater Houston area to make Money Magazine’s “Best Places to Live” list.  Going south is historic Alvin, home of the Nolan Ryan Baseball Museum, and Manvel where country and city meets.  Further south Iowa Colony, Angleton, Lake Jackson and the Brazosport area are rich in natural resources and steeped in Texas history dating back to the 1820s.  Freeport is home to the growing Dow Chemical Complex, BASF and Port Freeport.  Surfside Beach is a popular destination for sun-loving Houstonians.

Area residents have quick access to some of the largest employers in the Houston area, including The Texas Medical Center, central Houston, The Galleria, Hobby Airport, NASA, and the Energy Corridor.  Texas 288 is ideally situated between the Port of Houston, the largest container port on the Texas Gulf Coast, and the second largest, Port Freeport which ranks 16th in foreign tonnage and 27th in the U.S. in total tonnage.  The port generates $10.2 billion annually to the economy and approximately 12,000 direct jobs and 14,000 indirect jobs.

The Port of Houston is ranked first in the United States in foreign waterborne tonnage; first in U.S. imports; second in U.S. export tonnage and second in the U.S. in total tonnage.  Ship channel-related businesses contribute to more than 785,000 jobs throughout Texas, while generating nearly $118 billion of statewide economic impact.

The Panama Canal’s capacity will double by 2014, allowing larger ships quick passage to U.S. ports.  Import and export businesses, shipping and support services will bring more jobs to the Texas Gulf Coast.

Current and future transportation needs in the region are being monitored by a non-profit organization called the Greater 288 Partnership.  Greater 288 Partnership plans to move key projects forward by bringing public and private entities together to fund development.  Harris County and the Texas Department of Transportation are working on a plan for two toll lanes from U. S. 59 to the Brazoria County line.  Plans also include a direct connection from Texas 288 to the Texas Medical Center.

Newcomers will find a variety of homes and communities throughout the Texas 288 area.  Southern Trails, Lakes of Savannah, Sedona Lakes, Preserve at Highland Glen and West Ranch are some of the newest master-planned communities.  Apartment homes offer residents a variety of lifestyles from high rise living on Hermann Park and loft living among downtown Houston’s skyscrapers, to family-oriented and 55-plus apartment communities in the suburbs.  For those seeking a beach home, Freeport and Surfside offer a variety of homes for sale and lease.  Galveston, southeast of the Texas 288 area, is less than an hour drive.

Houston ISD, the largest district in Texas with over 210,000 students, serves the north end of Texas 288.  About 60 miles south of Houston, Brazosport ISD provides educational resources for students residing in eight coastal cities.  The districts of Pearland, Friendswood, Alvin and Angleton combined serve almost 40,000 students.  These school districts are among the top employers in the region.

Students seeking a higher education can choose from community and four-year colleges, including the University of Houston, Rice University and St. Thomas.  The University of Houston Clear Lake, Pearland Campus offers undergraduate and graduate programs.  For the first time in its 60-year history Alvin Community college enrolled 5,700 students in 2011, more than a 10 percent increase in enrollment.

Retails centers, box retailers, boutiques, restaurants and service providers are drawing customers to Pearland Town Center at Texas 288 and Broadway (FM 518).  Along with Macy’s, Barnes & Noble Book Sellers, and Dillard’s are more than 100 shops, restaurants and a courtyard by Marriott Hotel.

Across Broadway, Shadow Creek Town Center features the largest H-E-B Super Center in Houston, an Academy Sports and Outdoors, Sears Appliances, Frost Bank and other retailers, restaurants and professional businesses.  Sam’s Club chose Shadow Creek Ranch / Reserve at Shadow Creek as the site for their new 136,000 square foot store.  Grocery stores, schools, banks, a Hilton Garden Inn, office buildings and new apartment-homes are located on Shadow Creek Ranch Boulevard.

The intersection of Texas 288 and Texas 6 in Manvel is slated to be the next hub to be developed with residential, retail and commercial projects.  The intersection has regional accessibility to residents living in Harris, Brazoria, Fort Bend and Galveston Counties.

A new over-pass at CR 101 near the community of Sedona Lakes enables westbound motorists to go south on Texas 288.  CR 101 (Bailey Road) is a east-west thoroughfare running from Texas 288 through Pearland to Texas 35.  Main Street in Pearland, south of the Sam Houston Parkway, is being widened to improve traffic flow.

Kiplinger’s list of the “Ten Best Cities” ranked Houston #1 in the nation based on job growth, cost of living, recreation, and its diverse professional workforce.  A new stadium, a light-rail system, a 12-acre park in downtown Houston, and the city’s affordable home prices also supported Houston’s ranking.

Allied Van Lines’ 44th Annual Magnet States Report, which tracks U.S. migration patterns, showed Texas was the No. 1 destination state for residential relocations for the seventh year in a row.

Opinions of Texas have changed in recent years, according to Bill Jones, past chairman of the Texas Association of Realtors and current commissioner at Texas Real Estate Commission.

“Just 20 years ago, Texas wasn’t the first choice for many people,” Jones said.  “But now people from all over are noticing we have everything you could possibly want, from reasonable priced housing, to plenty of land for business and housing development, to a wide variety of fine arts, recreational opportunities and a world-class medical center.”

State Highway 288 (Texas 288) begins at U. S. 59 on the east side of downtown Houston and stretches south to Texas 36 in Freeport.  Passing through Harris and Brazoria Counties, this 58-mile highway offers a wide choice of lifestyles, endless housing options, excellent schools and educational institutions, recreational and cultural opportunities, wildlife reserves, and hundreds of miles of coastline.

This chapter is designed to provide basic facts and insights about the cities and neighborhoods within the Texas 288 corridor.

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