Next Wednesday, a contingent of Brady and McCulloch County representatives will travel to Houston to accept a runner-up award in the Texas Community Economic Development Awards. Topped only by Midlothian, a suburb of Dallas, the award is a prestigious distinction that recognizes communities for their consistent efforts to promote and foster economic development. The awards are broken into five categories for populations ranging from communities less than 5,000 all the way up to large metropolitan areas with populations greater than 100,000. The McCulloch County Industrial Foundation and the City of Brady were recently approached by representatives of the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA), the nominating entity responsible for submitting community names to be judged in the contest. LCRA selected Brady as their sole nomination for one of the five classes. A formal nomination form was completed, submitted and in this the first year ever for Brady to be considered, they were named first runner-up in the categories for communities with population from 5,001- 15,000. “Myself and several others including representatives of the Brady City Council and the McCulloch County Industrial Foundation (MCIF) will leave Wednesday for Houston to accept the award,” said MCIF representative Mike Trollinger. “This is something that is a direct result of a concerted effort by the county and city working together over the past several years for the betterment of the whole community.” The nomination form and judging criteria included areas such as business retention, business expansion, business attraction and community involvement. According to reports from nominating members, it would have been very unusual for a first-time nomination to win their respective classification. Over the past several years, the MCIF in direct concert with the Brady Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) has successfully recruited at least six new businesses to relocate or begin business in McCulloch County. From a custom motor- trike manufacturer to a stained glass artist to an aircraft maintenance company, the BEDC and MCIF have played an integral part in business formation. The two economic factions have also worked in tandem to assist several local businesses with expansion projects through use of a revolving loan fund. Working with many facets of the community, the recent construction of a 60-unit apartment complex has provided housing for a niche of workers and families in the county. Active plans also exist to recruit and expand the use of the immediate area including the Curtis Field airport by military units from Fort Hood. The development of a Community Development Strategy done with the assistance of the LCRA has provided a framework by which both city and county officials have a road map to continue toward positive economic growth in the area. Anyone interested in attending the awards presentation in Houston is encouraged to contact Trollinger to arrange for combined transportation and accommodations for the trip.