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Mineral Wells economic panel learns of stronger ties with counterparts in Strawn, Parker County

In World
May 19, 2024

May 18—MINERAL WELLS — The panel charged with economic development learned of strengthening ties to its east and west.

Leaders of the city council-appointed Mineral Wells Economic Development Corp. capped a Thursday meeting with reports of growing ties with counterparts in both Strawn and Parker County.

“There’s a lot of growth getting ready to happen in this part of the county and that part of the county,” immediate past Director David Hawes said, after reporting he’s advising the Development Corp. of Strawn.

The Palo Pinto County city, he said, is laying annexation plans to tie it to Interstate 20.

Hawes and new Director of Economic Development Nathan Dyhre were closing the monthly meeting with a combined report that also included praise for the economic development corporation’s counterpart to the east.

“It’s a whole new world between our communities,” Hawes said.

Dyhre said he has joined the board of the North Central Texas Economic Development District, part of the 16-county North Central Texas Council of Governments.

He joins his Parker County counterpart, Chris Strayer, on that board.

“We have not had that rapport in the past,” Dyhre said of the strengthening economic ties between the neighboring counties.

A little later, Hawes reported securing a $450,000 grant to engineer plans to prevent flooding along Crystal Canal. The water channel flows along the western edge of downtown and contributes to perennial flood woes.

Hawes said the source of the grant, the Texas Water Development Board, also is poised to approve state surplus-fueled grants in the $30-$40 million range.

The city will seek that assistance level once engineering funded by the grant in hand produces a plan, he said. The funding will help downtown businesses achieve lower Insurance Services Office rates as well as make city walking trails more reliably dry, he said.

“Which will lead to more economic development, visitors and people wanting to say, ‘Hey. I want to live here,’ ” Hawes said.

Dyhre also urged residents to attend a public meeting to give input to state transportation planners — in particular to give their two cents about a planned U.S. 281 bypass intended for 18-wheelers and other commercial traffic that now barrels through the heart of downtown.

The Texas Department of Transportation had not announced a date, other than to say it will be in June, for the public meeting on its Rural Traffic Improvement Plan.

The 281 bypass is planned by TxDOT as part of a larger goal to remake that north-south highway to relieve Interstate 35, Dyhre said.

“That’s something that TxDOT has come to us and said that it is absolutely going to happen,” he said. “It is something that needs to happen. and hearing the people that want to come here destination-wise, that’s what we want to happen.”

Earlier in the meeting, three vendors made pitches to help the city recruit more retailers.

“Nobody has the relationships we have in North Texas,” Aaron Farmer of Retail Coach said, via a Zoom call. “You’ve got a really good story to tell. We’re just going to get it in front of the right people.”

Chris Bontrager, with Retail Academy, pitched in-person workshops and online sessions to introduce local people to networks where large and medium sized retailers move.

“We’re essentially teaching you to do what we do,” Bontrager said in a live presentation, describing a recruitment plan to lure restaurants, department stores and grocers. “Once that recruitment plan is delivered, it’s off to the races.”

And Bryan Beatty, on Zoom, pitched an interactive website his GIS Planning can design that helps retailers identify properties that might best suit their needs.

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