Fulshear approves first economic development strategic plan

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Fulshear City Council approved the strategic framework for the city’s first economic development plan at its July 30 joint special meeting.

The plan is the result of a collaborative effort amongst Fulshear City Council and the city’s two economic development corporations—the City of Fulshear Development Corporation and the Fulshear Development Corporation.

The city of Fulshear hired TIP Strategies to formulate the plan in late November 2018.

The strategic framework that was approved Tuesday was based on input received throughout the planning process to-date, since January, Economic Development Director Angela Fritz said in an email. It included a public survey, extensive stakeholder interviews, a town hall meeting, a joint visioning workshop between the council and EDCs, data analysis by the project consultant and steering committee guidance.

The council accepted the framework on the consensus that there will be modifications to the verbiage used in the city’s first economic development strategic plan prepared by TIP Strategies, an Austin-based economic development consulting firm.

“Houston and the Greater Houston area are maintaining its edge,” CEO and founder of TIP Strategies Tom Stellman said. “[Fulshear] can be a part of it.”

Consultants developed a strategic plan around top priorities to guide the city’s economic growth over the next 10 years composed of four goals:

1. Service delivery: Support business growth and tax base diversification in Fulshear with a suite of economic development services.

• Have better information resources such as sales tax data.
• The economic development department will serve as the primary point of contact and project manager for high-impact business development deals and transformative projects to ensure these projects advance to completion after they are evaluated to meet the city’s criteria.
• Forge strong partnerships with regional economic development organizations, local governments and key service providers to make a support network for current and future businesses.
• Keep a pulse on the new and existing business community and help connect businesses with resources they need.
• Selectively recruit new businesses to Fulshear.

2. Strategic investment: Encourage the development of opportunity areas through the investment of the city’s resources and the economic development council’s resources.

• Find and prioritize infrastructure projects to help guide and increase growth in key areas of the city.
• Secure strategic land parcels that can help business growth.
• Choose projects to promote Fulshear’s economic development vision, guiding principles and desired outcomes.

3. Transformative projects: Preserve and enhance Fulshear’s character and quality of place through catalytic projects.

• Work on top-priority projects such as making downtown Fulshear vibrant, creating a lifestyle center and enhance public spaces, including parks.
• Create a structure to irregularly identify and prioritize future projects.

4. Organization alignment: This will enable the first three goals.
• Establish the process by which businesses and developers seek the city of Fulshear’s— including the EDC—participation or investment.
• Create a structure and build a culture that infuses economic development in decision-making across the organization.
• Recognize the oversight and governance structure.

Among the changes council members agreed to modify were a change of title to the first goal and consideration to verbiage in the economic development vision.

“I am incredibly excited about the implementations tools and guiding principles,” Mayor Aaron Groff said. “My concern is around verbiage. How do we make it clear that these are what we are aspiring to rather than what is the current reality?”

The consulting team corresponded to the comments and concerns from city staff.

“One of the main goals is creating a unified and aligned vision and plan that empowers all of us, which is the point of the fourth goal: to understand the vision so we can act independently,” Fritz said.

TIP Strategies will submit a report to include in the agenda packet Sept. 3 and give a public presentation on the plan and final adoption Sept. 17.

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