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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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June 16, 2024

Local Candidates Discuss Issues Facing the Bryan-College Station Community

Voting+for+the+College+station+municipal+elections+open+on+Oct.+23.
Photo by Photo by Jesse Everett

Voting for the College station municipal elections open on Oct. 23.

The issues of campus and community growth and safety were addressed at the Local Candidates Forum on Oct. 16 at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum. Moderated by Scott DeLucia of Bryan Broadcasting, the candidates voiced their opinions on various issues that affect the Bryan-College Station area.
This year, elections will be held for positions in the Bryan ISD and College Station ISD school boards, as well as the Bryan and College Station City Councils.
The race for College Station City Council is between Elianor Vessali and Bob Brick for place one, as well as incumbent Linda Harvell and Dallas Shipp for place three.
Off-campus student housing was frequently discussed with its relation to the growth of the university. Vessali, Class of 1998, is a realtor and businesswoman in the College Station area and said she believes communication is vital to the city’s growth and the development of housing.
“I think we need to continue the conversation about student housing and the impact it has on our neighborhoods because it’s a big concern,” Vessali said. “And we need to continue our conversation with the university about their growth and increased student population as well.”
Candidates discussed their many solutions on how to account for the increasing student population and its impact on the surrounding communities. Shipp is a local businessman who said he believes the problem can be solved with collaboration between Texas A&M and the city of College Station.
“We need to abandon that us versus them mentality,” Shipp said. “A world class university that’s growing rapidly cannot coexist with a city that fights growth.”
One of the issues with student housing discussed by candidates was the rise of stealth dorms, large multi-resident developments that are meant to house many students. Business owner Mitch Morehead, a candidate for Bryan City Council, said he believes it’s the city of Bryan’s responsibility to designate the location of such developments.
“I think the city needs to be proactive,” Morehead said. “We need to make sure that we are working toward finding areas where they are appropriate, and clearly defining where they’re not.”
The recent construction of stealth dorms prompted candidates to address their effect on the community. Brick, a Texas A&M Research Specialist at the Institute for Quantum Science and Engineering, discussed his plan to solve the problem surrounding these new developments.
“Student housing is primarily a responsibility of the university, but the university has many more students than it can possibly house,” Brick said. “I would support looking into the idea of establishing zones or areas near the university in which multi-resident structures could be built for student housing.”
Municipal services were frequently discussed by all of the candidates running for College Station City Council. Vessali said she believes that a well-funded police and fire department is critical to student safety.
“These important issues, about funding our police and funding our fire department, these impact the students as well,” Vessali said. “Parents want to know that you are living in a safe environment and in safe neighborhoods, so these safety issues are critical to the student population as well.”
Early voting opens on Oct. 23 and Election Day is Nov. 7 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. You can find voting locations and election information at brazosvotes.org.

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