Cities Wanting to Revitalize Their Declining Areas Are Going to Need to Attract Private Investment and Businesses.
HALTOM CITY, TX, November 03, 2023 /24-7PressRelease/ — Ron Sturgeon, a successful entrepreneur and author who started his first business in Haltom City close to fifty years ago, has recently become a fierce advocate for change as a voice for small businesses and how cities are running them off.
For more than a decade, Sturgeon has witnessed the ongoing decline in the south and central areas of his city where he started his first of many businesses over 50 years ago. In 2021 he founded the Haltom United Business Alliance (HUBA) because, as he says, “the struggle is real” for owners of small businesses. In 2022 he launched an awareness campaign called Make Haltom City Thrive Again in the hope of calling attention to the issues and helping to educate citizens about the need for change. He also co-authored the book Keeping the Lights on Downtown in America’s Small Cities — The Critical Role Small Businesses Play in Bringing Back Jobs & Prosperity, often citing Haltom City as an example of what can be done and, in some cases, what not to do.
Recently, Ron helped create a series of brief videos in which he discusses one or more of the issues at hand. Several of the videos are based on the need for a Concept Plan for the south and central areas of Haltom City, something that could be done with the help of a professional consultant.
In one of the videos, Sturgeon talks about the fact that there is never enough public money available and (obviously) no one wants their taxes raised. Therefore, a Concept Plan should include a variety of strategies designed to help attract private investors to the city. As indicated in a recent Wall Street Journal article about America’s empty downtowns, “Cities must learn to compete” and have “innovative fast-moving plans to improve.” Making the process easier, whether the goal is to renovate an existing property or open a small business, is an important step in the right direction.
Sturgeon often hears from colleagues about the fact that Haltom City is difficult to work with due to its time-consuming hearing process and overly restrictive codes. In the video, he suggests that the city track and detail all inquiries made by potential investors. In order to compete and be ready with innovative solutions, you must first identify the problems at hand. Sturgeon estimates that 3-5 applicants are currently being turned away each week in Haltom City. If practical changes could be made that would allow just 1 more of those applicants to go through, there would be more than 50 new businesses in Haltom City within one year.
The fact that stakeholder engagement is curtailed in Haltom City is also a bone of contention. Citizens are given a mere three minutes to speak at public meetings and are not able to speak at all during workshops. Since the concept of a “workshop” is to kick around new ideas, it is counterproductive to silence stakeholders who might want to put forth a new concept for consideration.
The full video series is posted on the Make Haltom Thrive Again website. If you’re a resident or business owner in Haltom City, be sure to check it out.
About Haltom City
Haltom City is a diverse, majority working-class city located between Dallas and Fort Worth in Tarrant County, TX. Haltom City is minutes from both the DFW Airport and Downtown Fort Worth with direct access to major highways including I-820 and SH-121. Due to an outdated and restrictive use matrix that discourages new business and deters growth, several areas of Haltom City have seen a decline in small businesses which provided goods and services and were a significant source of jobs, including the once-thriving automotive industry. However, Haltom City can reverse this trend and should prioritize development of inner-city land and vacant buildings, particularly in the major corridors close to the city’s center. The city is financially healthy with a capable manager and staff who would like to see diverse business development occur and need the support of the City Council to make it happen.
About Haltom United Business Alliance
Haltom United Business Alliance (HUBA) wants to give members of Haltom City’s business community an advocate and to keep those businesses informed about issues that affect them. They want to make sure Haltom City is business friendly and nurtures small business growth, including automotive businesses in the industrial districts, and bring more restaurants including breweries and eventually a major grocery store to the city. New businesses and growth in existing businesses will create a stronger tax base which will allow the city to pay its first responders wages that are competitive with surrounding cities while improving Haltom City’s facilities and infrastructure. HUBA believes that the southern and central parts of the city need a revitalization plan, to prevent further degradation in those areas, and wants that to happen before the inner-city experiences increased crime and more blight. As retail and office uses are in decline, it’s more critical than ever to attract new businesses. They believe that such a plan requires a strong relationship and support of the business community. Anyone who owns a business in Haltom City is eligible to join HUBA. Dues are $20 annually or $50 for a lifetime membership, and membership is 100% confidential. To join, contact Joe Palmer at (682) 310-0591 or by email at [email protected]. Visit the group’s Facebook at Haltom United Business Alliance.
About Make Haltom City Thrive Again
Make Haltom City Thrive Again is a movement to return prosperity to the older parts of South and Central Haltom City by luring the small businesses that have left over the past decades back to Haltom City. A vibrant business community not only allows for greater employment and choice of goods and services, but also can ease the tax burden on residents. The movement is led by local entrepreneur and business owner Ron Sturgeon. For more on Sturgeon’s ideas and background, check out his book, Keeping the Lights on Downtown in America’s Small Cities and watch the videos on his Facebook page. Ron is also the founder of the Haltom United Business Alliance (HUBA) which represents existing business interests in Haltom City and promotes growth of diverse businesses. HUBA is not a political action committee and does not endorse candidates. If/when Ron endorses candidates, he will do so on his own via the Make Haltom City Thrive Again organization.
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