Welcome to the new Director’s Blog, where I hope to connect some of the dots between the data we provide on this web site, the programs and projects we undertake, and impacts to the local community. My first entry should serve as a general primer for economic development and provide some background for the work being done at the Marble Falls EDC. Most of what you’ll see below is a recapitulation of a column that I wrote in the August 31, 2012 edition of The Highlander.
On a practical level, the EDC actively facilitates a positive commercial and industrial environment by attempting to build upon strengths, mitigate weaknesses, and position our community for success. Each day, we communicate with people interested in doing business in Marble Falls. We put developers, land owners, and/or real estate professionals in touch with one another based on infrastructure needs, space needs, visibility requirements, and other factors. We collaborate with other community organizations to help streamline the development process and/or assist business owners with needs they may have. We utilize resources provided by regional, statewide, and federal agencies and try to employ relevant programs at the local level. We work with data providers and consultants to ensure that the information we provide about our area is accurate, up-to-date, and appropriate to specific targets. In some cases, we utilize third-party sources to independently validate and reinforce the work that we are already doing.
We convey information about our community through a variety of means in order to spur interest in Marble Falls and initiate a conversation about doing business here. With each conversation centered on business development or expansion comes an equally-important conversation about living in the area. In Marble Falls, we hold the distinction of having the most balanced ratio of property values in the entire state. With a total residential property value of $251.2 million in 2011, and a total commercial value of $247.6 million, we truly cannot emphasize one side more than the other. This balance is also one of the reasons why we strive for such connections between business recruitment, business retention, and quality-of-life initiatives.
In April 2012, the EDC board adopted a new Strategic Plan that seeks to address these considerations. We invite you to browse the site, explore other economic development sites, and let us know what else you’d like to see us doing. We hope that you see some value in the work that’s been done, and we hope that you can identify with the plan that we are mapping out.
This year, the EDC has commissioned two traffic counts, secured retail studies that have led to at least three new establishments in town, nearly doubled our marketing budget, and overhauled our web site. We also completed engineering for Phase III of the Business & Technology Park so that utilities and roads can be extended across some of the flattest and most developable property in Marble Falls when the right manufacturing firm comes along. Speaking of which, the current tenant at the EDC-owned Colt Circle property, CorWorth Building Systems, has hired nearly 50 employees since February and has injected millions of dollars into the local economy. As a result of their success and the process that got them here, Marble Falls will be the recipient of the Texas Economic Development Council’s 2012 Community Economic Development Award (CEDA) in our population category.
In October, the EDC will begin accepting applications for sign replacement grants, and we will look for ways to utilize a new community leverage line item for quality-of-life projects. Suggestions and ideas are welcome.
I want to encourage you to attend EDC meetings (normally held the first Wednesday of each month at noon at City Hall) and workshops and see the variety of programs and initiatives that we are currently discussing. If you would prefer to visit one-on-one, please stop by my office at 801 Fourth Street—I would be happy to answer any questions or address any concerns you may have about economic development in general, our organization, or our community engagement.
Finally, I invite you to post your comments or questions here. I will do my best to post entries and answer questions regularly, so check back often for updates on things that are going on in the community.