The McKinney State of the City event Nov. 2 featured remarks about commercial and municipal development, East McKinney, local education and more from city government and education leaders.

The gist

The event, held at Christ Fellowship Church, included a panel discussion with McKinney Mayor George Fuller, City Manager Paul Grimes, McKinney ISD Superintendent Shawn Pratt and Collin College District President Neil Matkin.

Other city and government leaders were in attendance at the annual McKinney Chamber of Commerce event, including members of the McKinney City Council and representatives of local and state office holders.

What they’re saying

During the panel discussion, Fuller spoke about upcoming and recent commercial projects, including businesses that have opened in McKinney in the past year. Business development projects Fuller mentioned include:“A lot of exciting things going on that provide, of course, tax base and convenience and entertainment for the city of McKinney,” Fuller said.

He also noted city projects underway, including the new city hall that is currently under construction, as well as the downtown redevelopment initiative and growth at McKinney National Airport.

Grimes gave remarks on redevelopment in East McKinney, as well as city initiatives to affordability for east side residents amid redevelopment efforts. Grimes noted projects like the silo mural, as well as Tupps Brewery’s new site, that are contributing to the development in the area.

“We want to catalyze development,” Grimes said. “We want to make that property ... developable but we don't want to lose the flavor [and] historic nature of that community.”

A preservation plan to help address challenges caused by the redevelopment in the area was finalized earlier this year. Grimes also noted the recently approved Community Land Trust, which can also be used to preserve land and create affordable housing opportunities.

Diving in deeper

Pratt spoke about McKinney ISD’s plans for growth and future planning, noting that work on a strategic plan for the district is underway. Strategies and goals to be included in the plan were created by a group of 80 community members, Pratt said, and a group of roughly 100 teachers, parents and other community members are working to turn the goals into actionable items.

“It's really not just about my goals, it's about our community's goals,” Pratt said. “It's our school district.”

The strategic plan is expected to be presented to the school board in early 2024 and will inform the district’s trajectory for the next three to five years, Pratt said.

He also shared strategies the district is using to address staffing challenges. The district is pursuing recruitment of current high school seniors in McKinney that are interested in becoming a teacher, as well as student teachers and substitutes, and offering resources to help them get certified to teach, Pratt said.

Matkin spoke about Collin College’s growth during the pandemic, including opening four new campuses and an online campus. The new campuses resulted in a 7.5% increase in student enrollment, he said.

Collin College currently offers four bachelor’s degree programs and plans to offer more, Matkin said. Future bachelor programs may include software development, he said.

The school is also working to develop partnerships with universities to create a “two plus two” degree program, allowing students to take two years of classes at Collin and two more years at the partner university. The program would allow for students to complete a four-year degree for less than $20,000, Matkin said.

“There's not a better value in the state than Collin College,” Matkin said.