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Monday, March 8, 2021

Fort Worth releases economic development plan

The Fort Worth City Council will discuss the City’s first economic development plan on Tuesday, but late on Friday the City released a copy of the plan and some accompanying materials.

According to the materials: “The plan is a road map for the city’s economic development program. Just as important, it is a call to action so that Fort Worth can embrace its status as a major U.S. city and compete on the national and international stage.”

The economic development strategic plan that emerged from the process had some “very specific outcomes” according to the executive summary, seeking to build an economic base for the city with high-wage job growth, a more sustainable tax base, driven less by residential property valuation and more by commercial and industrial investment, an economy that capitalizes on high-growth businesses and the creative community and a commitment to “quality of place” throughout the community.

According to the plan, the City of Fort Worth’s plan has four goals:

• To establish Fort Worth’s competitive edge, by elevating the city’s profile, marketing and targeting industry recruiting, improve the competitiveness of existing businesses and expand collaboration between employers and training providers to build a pipeline of talent.

• To become a hub for creative businesses by establishing a near Southside medical innovation district, nurture entrepreneurship in the city, better promote the arts and establish a “futures forum” as a formal working group.

• Ensure community vitality by accelerating downtown Fort Worth as the premier mixed0use business district in Texas, align neighborhood assets and restructure small business assistance.

• Use tools such as an economic development bond package to increase livability and provide for a Smart City infrastructure and increase business development.

The City of Fort Worth paid for the initiative through its general fund with a budget of $350,000. The project is expected to come in slightly under budget. The lead consultant on the project was TIP Strategies, which has offices in Austin and Seattle, along with their partners Fregonese Associates, JLL and Isaac Barchas.

One of the initiatives outlined in the executive summary looks at the challenge of retaining existing businesses. Using XTO as an example, the report outlines a plan – with both the city and chamber working together – to establish a business retention program to prevent such economic “surprises” from occurring.

There are several surprises in the report, such as the fact that there are 160 Inc. 5000 firms in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area across a range of industries. Sixty of those are in Dallas and 11 are based in Fort Worth. Plano, Addison and Irving have more than Fort Worth.

To read the plan:

www.fortworthtexas.gov/edplan

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Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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