Commerce Center/college gets $4M EDA grant
December 2009
LIVINGSTON — The U.S. Department of Commerce officially presented a check for $4 million to local officials Saturday, representing the proceeds of a grant to establish a commerce center and college, during a short ceremony at the Livingston-Polk County Chamber of Commerce.
The project is expected to have a total budget of $7 to $8 million. A local capital fundraising effort is expected to get under way near the first of 2010.
The Commerce Center will be located adjacent to the chamber office. The property was purchased from the Texas Department of Transportation for $13,120 — the amount TxDOT paid for the land — after Rep. John Otto sponsored legislation allowing the purchase during the 2009 legislative session.
Local officials thanked Rep. Kevin Brady during Saturday’s ceremony for his help in securing the federal grant. 
“I’m so proud of this community for setting this as a major goal and then achieving it,” Brady said. “I think the conference center is going to be a milestone for the county and it’s going to help create jobs and keep our young people who want to stay and raise their families in Polk County to do that.
The funds were made available through the Deep East Texas Economic Development District, according to Executive Director Walter Diggles Sr.
The center will be the first EDA project in Texas built under Leadership in Energy and Economic Design (LEED) “green” building practices and is expected to be a showcase for the program.
Other officials attending the presentation not mentioned or pictured above included Dr. Fred Kanke of Angelina College, the Polk County Industrial Development District Board of Directors, Polk County Higher Education and Technology Board Members and members of the Livingston-Polk County Chamber of Commerce.
Some factors such as the size of the auditorium facility are still being negotiated. With enough public support that portion of the facility could be designed to hold an audience of 1,500, according to Thompson.

Couple donates $13K for college center Foundation launches local fund-raising
December 2009
Click Here for Picture!

LIVINGSTON — Fundraising for the Polk County College/Commerce Center took a leap forward with the recent donation of $13,200 by Mr. and Mrs. Jack Uselton to acquire land on the U.S. 59 Bypass North. Supporters of the college/commerce center effort recently formed the Polk County Higher Education & Technology Foundation. Board members include County Judge John Thompson, president; Andy Evans, vice president; Kelly R. Ritch Sr., secretary; Garvey Jackson, treasurer; Dr. Darrell Myers, representative for Polk County school districts and Dr. Larry Phillips, president of Angelina College, an ex-officio member. The local fundraising effort is being chaired by Dr. Bill Watson, his wife Martha and a team of local volunteers. “The Useltons were touched by the importance of education and want to give others the opportunity to further their schooling,” Dr. Watson said. “Mr. and Mrs. Uselton not only gave their financial support for the project but also have offered their support in time and effort to make the Polk County Commerce Center, site of the Angelina College and conference facility, a reality. Polk County received a $4 million Economic Development Administration Grant from the Department of Commerce to be used for construction and development of the College/Commerce Center project. The land for the project, which has been purchased and transferred to Polk County, is located on the U.S. Hwy. 59 bypass, north of the Livingston-Polk County Chamber of Commerce. The fundraising team is launching a concentrated effort to raise additional funds needed to complete the facility. The college portion of the project will be operated and managed by Angelina College. AC will offer a full two-year community college project and will invite other universities such as Sam Houston State University and Stephen F. Austin University to offer four-year college degree classes at the facility. Multiple opportunities for Polk County residents to further their education are anticipated,” Dr. Watson said. “Not only academically, but technical and vocational classes will be offered.” The Commerce Center side of the facility will include an auditorium that will accommodate 500 people at a dinner event or seating for 800 to 900 people such concerts, graduation ceremonies or large business, civic and social events. “Depending on the finance effort, it may be possible to increase the size of the commerce auditorium to accommodate a larger number,” Judge Thompson said. “If we can have the larger building, we could have graduation in Polk County.”

October 21, 2009 - Donation Recieved for College/Commerce Center - Click Here!

Polk County Higher Education & Technology Foundation
P.O. Box 1523 - Livingston TX. 77351 - (936) 327-2710 - (936) 327-8966