Vocal critics make it clear that local businesses have no seat at the table but then are mystified that the city struggles to attract more businesses
HALTOM CITY, TX, January 31, 2023 /24-7PressRelease/ — Haltom United Business Alliance (HUBA) has been pushing the city for 18 months to create a plan to revitalize South and Central Haltom City. HUBA has offered many ideas on how to bring more small businesses to the declining corridors in the southern and central parts of the city. Thus far, the city has refused to even acknowledge the ideas, much less implement any of them. As a result, the declining parts of the city continue to decline. Buildings remain unoccupied and rundown.
Supporters of the city and vocal critics of local business, including Jayson Steele, the city’s community health specialist reporting to the city manager, has said that he does not want local businesses profiting off Haltom City residents. He said in a Facebook post: “I live here and I don’t want businesses making more money off our residents.”
According to tax records, Steele does not even own any property in Haltom City. He lives in an apartment where he receives free rent in exchange for being the complex security officer, while he works full time for the city.
“This isn’t new,” says HUBA Founder Ron Sturgeon. “Steele and other city supporters have said many times that they don’t want local businesses to have any input on ordinances.” Sturgeon says that even when the city holds workshops about new ordinances no one from the public or business community is allowed to speak or give input.
“A lot of brainpower is being wasted and the restrictive rules written without business input are hurting Haltom City and efforts to attract more small businesses to the city, particularly the South and Central parts, where more small businesses are badly needed,” said Joe Palmer, HUBA Communications Director.
“Haltom City Council seems to think that they know all there is to know about rebuilding the business community because they don’t seem to want any input,” said Palmer. “It’s a huge disconnect that is costing the city dearly in its efforts to bring in small businesses,” he added.
The city has placed its hopes for revitalization in a tax increment reinvestment zone, or TIRZ. The TIRZ is a 30-year plan that features funds that can be spent only for public infrastructure, such as sidewalks or utilities. The business owners think such a plan is great, but it was likely only help a few businesses, mainly larger ones, which is what the TIRZ is primarily designed to pay for.
Sturgeon says the city needs hundreds of millions of dollars in private investor money to develop lots, improve buildings bring tenants and improve these areas. The city however seems to be in complete denial and prepared to wait 30 years for the TIRZ to build some public infrastructure in the declining corridors. These actions by the council which impede revitalization in the declining corridors also prevent a large grocery store or restaurants from coming, as they want to be in thriving busy locations.
“There’s no reason that the city can’t work on bringing small businesses to South and Central Haltom City while it improves infrastructure and while it improves the northside with restaurants and retail and brings large distribution centers to that part of town.
Sturgeon says that South and Central Haltom City, the older parts of the city, are different and have different needs and require different plans in order to attract the small businesses needed for revitalization.
Palmer says unfortunately until the city recognizes that there is a problem and that they must compete with surrounding cities who are getting the new businesses. They can’t make a plan, and without a plan, nothing is going to happen.
Sturgeon has started a campaign to bring small business back to the areas of Haltom City that most need them. To build support for revitalization, he has put up a billboard on 121 that says, “Make Haltom City Thrive Again; Time for a Change.”
Sturgeon has had many business successes since he started his first business in Haltom City. He still owns businesses here and is now committed to making sure Haltom City makes the necessary improvements in its governance to have an opportunity to bring prosperity back. He has a detailed plan to make it happen. Learn more by visiting MakeHaltomCityThriveAgain.com.
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 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 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.
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