No plan & no action for years have produced vacant buildings and crime
HALTOM CITY, TX, April 11, 2023 /24-7PressRelease/ — Frustration is growing among residents in Haltom City’s South and Central neighborhoods. Areas that were once known for their successful balance of homes and businesses have declined and the city has no plan to address the issue.
According to one resident of South Haltom, the area she calls home is plagued by problems related to drugs and homelessness. Although she’s looking for a location for her new business, she doesn’t feel she can invest in the area. “It has to do with being asked for money at the gas station when you’re pumping gas or the number of panhandlers at every light. A lot of people in the Nextdoor app have complained about homeless people stealing their belongings, and I watched one guy chase a man down for stealing his kid’s bike right in front of him.”
Entrepreneur and author Ron Sturgeon believes that these conditions will only worsen unless, and until, the areas are revitalized. Although his focus is on business issues, he strongly believes they run hand in hand with the human costs of neglecting neighborhoods. Simply put, letting older parts of the city decline not only hurts small businesses but also the people who live in these parts of the city. It’s well documented that vacant buildings attract crime, he says.
Sturgeon believes that prosperity can return to South and Central Haltom City if the city takes a serious interest in attracting new small businesses to these areas by making changes to the city’s table of uses so that it is comparatively easier to start many kinds of small businesses in Haltom City than in the nearby cities with which it competes.
“I know the residents of South and Central Haltom City want a major grocery store and eateries, but as the corridors have lost major business after major business, the only way to get the thing that will bring them is to bring back the small businesses, one at a time,” said Sturgeon. “I know the Haltom United Business Alliance has asked the city to reduce the barriers to entry in these declining areas and to start counting how many people actually call or come in and ask about starting a new venture, gathering their info, and then making sure they got the information they need, offering help as appropriate. A bonus is we can measure empirically what this opportunity looks like, but I believe we could get 1 business per week if we made it easier, and in 2 years we will have 100 additional new businesses to bolster the local economy.” Joe Palmer, Communications Director for HUBA, believes strongly that redevelopment hinges directly upon bringing small businesses back to South and Central Haltom City.
Sturgeon says, the city should also explore creating a new brand for Haltom City and creating overlay districts with reduced rules to help spur startups. He suggests that the city might also explore using form-based instead of use-based zoning to make it simpler to open businesses in the older corridors of South and Central Haltom City.
To help call attention to the issues being faced in South and Central Haltom City, Sturgeon has started a campaign called Make Haltom City Thrive Again. The campaign has a dedicated website and billboards around Haltom City in the hope of attracting interest, attention, and ultimately, capable people who are willing to work for South Haltom and able to run for a position on the Haltom City Council.
“Let’s work together to make the city thrive again by bringing back prosperity, products, services and jobs. Let’s find leadership that’s pro-business to bring back all the businesses that have left!” says Sturgeon.
The website includes a detailed concept plan with specific actions the city can take to help attract the hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment needed to make Denton Highway, Belknap, Carson and NE 28th Street bustle again. Thus far, the campaign has attracted more than 3,000 visitors to the Make Haltom City Thrive Again website.
Haltom City residents and business owners are encouraged to check out the Make Haltom City Thrive Again website. They are also invited to request a free copy of the book Keeping the Lights on Downtown in America’s Small Cities: The Critical Role Small Businesses Play in Bringing Back Jobs and Prosperity which was coauthored by Sturgeon, has received critical acclaim and is now in its second edition.
“Inner city areas will not thrive unless and until small business growth is encouraged by the council” says Sturgeon. Because there’s an obvious human cost from the City Council’s failure to act, residents should be asking, “What’s the city’s plan?”
About Haltom United Business Alliance
Haltom United Business Alliance (HUBA) is a group of business owners dedicated to representing existing business interests in Haltom City and promoting the growth of diverse businesses as well. Innovative strategies are needed to create a strong tax base and enhance quality of life for residents, city employees, and business owners. All Haltom City business owners are eligible to join HUBA. For more information, contact Joe Palmer at (682) 310-0591 or by email at [email protected] or visit the group’s Facebook page at Haltom United Business Alliance.
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 has the opportunity to 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 Make Haltom City Thrive Again
The Make Haltom City Thrive Again website offers information and resources about its purpose and goals. For more on Sturgeon’s personal ideas and background, check out his book Keeping the Lights on Downtown in America’s Small Cities and watch the videos on his Make Haltom City Thrive Again 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 as well. HUBA is not a political action committee and does not endorse candidates. If/when Ron endorses candidates, he will do so on his own with the Make Haltom City Thrive Again organization.
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