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Because our current leaders don't recognize the need to attract more small businesses, they have not taken the first steps to develop a plan to achieve that goal.
HALTOM CITY, TX, January 17, 2023 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Entrepreneur Ron Sturgeon was a homeless teenager when he decided to start a business in Haltom City several decades ago. Now a multi-millionaire entrepreneur, multi-book author, and small business advocate, Sturgeon has been dismayed to see the continued decline in the south and central areas of the city.
His newest initiative, MakeHaltomCityThriveAgain, is an effort to help the city return to its former level of prosperity by making it the most business-friendly city in Tarrant County so that small businesses can be lured back to fill the many vacant commercial properties.
The initiative recently launched a third billboard to bring attention to the effort to return prosperity to the older parts of Haltom City. The first billboard states: "It's Time for a Change"; the second billboard adds, "Bring the Businesses Back." The third billboard in the series is clear "We Need New Leaders."
Sturgeon says after numerous ideas for bringing business back to Haltom City, all ignored by the city management, it's time to get some council members who are serious about restoring the central and southern parts of the city." He adds, "The citizens want a new grocery store and restaurants in the declining parts of town, but the current council is doing nothing to restore those corridors so those goals can be attained."
Although Sturgeon himself has owned and operated businesses in Haltom City for nearly five decades and still has the headquarters of his company in the city, he is not eligible to run because he does not live in the city. He has decided, instead, to be a champion for returning prosperity to the city where he has been a part of the business community for many years.
According to Sturgeon, Haltom City's current leaders don't seem to recognize that they are competing for small business start-ups with nearby cities. For Haltom City to attract businesses and "win" the competition, it must have a better value proposition overall. As it stands now, Haltom City's time-consuming red tape and challenging use matrix do more to discourage small businesses than to attract them.
Just how business unfriendly Haltom City is has been underscored by a comment on Facebook by local Commercial Realtor Phil Samples. He noted that Haltom City has "one of the toughest business environments" and that the overabundance of vacant properties is directly related to how hard the city is to do business with because of red tape, city code and occupancy permit issues.
"Because our current leaders don't recognize the need to attract more small businesses, they have not taken the first steps to develop a plan to achieve that goal," says Sturgeon. The Make Haltom City Thrive Again website and Facebook page include a detailed concept plan with many steps that cities that want to revitalize struggling older sections can take right away. Sturgeon even wrote a book, his tenth, on the topic, Keeping the Lights on Downtown in America's Small Cities – The Critical Role Small Businesses Play in Bringing Back Jobs and Prosperity.
The council recently instituted a 30-year Tax Investment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) following a proposal by a city hired consultant that described the declining corridors as "decrepit", while admitting that the funds generated by the TIRZ can only be spent on public improvements, primarily infrastructure. He also stated that the life of the TIRZ would be 30 years. Joe Palmer, Director of Communications for Haltom United Business Alliance states, the city needs hundreds of millions of dollars from private investors improving and developing the declining corridors, and no one believes we have 30 years to accomplish this revitalization."
If you live or work in Haltom City, you have a vested interest in a brighter future for yourself and your community, you are invited to join the effort by following the Facebook page and sharing your thoughts and ideas with Ron to refine the concept plan, and let Ron know if you are interested in running for City Council. Ron says "this effort of replacing the council and making the changes is likely to take at least 5 years, but I am here for the long haul," adding "This effort should have started 18 months ago when the business alliance proposed new ideas, ideas that could be completed in just a few years at no cost to the city, if the city officials really wanted to bring small business back."
If you or someone you know might be interested in running for Haltom City Council, time is of the essence as the filing deadline is in January for this year's council race
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 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.
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.
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