How does Haltom City measure up?
HALTOM CITY, TX, October 10, 2023 /24-7PressRelease/ — An American nonprofit organization called Strong Towns is dedicated to helping cities and towns make their declining neighborhoods safe, livable and inviting. The group focuses on civic engagement and working with local government at the highest level of collaboration possible.
The Strong Towns Strength Test came about when a number of people asked if there was a way to measure a city’s progress in terms of stability and resiliency. Since existing tests are often technical and time-consuming, they asked themselves “are there simple observations we use to signal that a city is either a strong town or on its way to becoming one? If you went to a place and had a little bit of time, could you scratch the surface and get a sense of how strong and resilient it was?”
The result was a list of ten basic questions that can also serve as a list of goals to achieve. The questions are broadly focused on things like financial resiliency, personal safety, and quality of life. For example, “Is it safe for children to walk or bike to school… without adult supervision?” “Are there neighborhoods where three generations of a family could reasonably find a place to live, all within walking distance of each other?” “Is an owner of a single family home able to get permission to add a small rental unit onto their property without any real hassle?”
One question in particular stands out to the Haltom United Business Alliance (HUBA), a group that has been pushing for changes which would help revitalize the city’s south and central areas. “Imagine your favorite street in town didn’t exist. Could it be built today if the construction had to follow your local rules?” As the members of HUBA will tell you, in Haltom City, the answer to that question is a resounding no.
For the past several years, HUBA has been asking the City Council to address Haltom’s excessive zoning regulations which are a deterrent to achieving the revitalization so desperately need. They’ve asked city leadership to adopt strategies to grow the business community, strengthen the city’s tax base, and enhance quality of life. They’ve even submitted a written list of ideas with concepts such as streamlining the approval process for small businesses, adopting form-based zoning or overlay districts in certain areas, and eliminating unnecessary parking requirements which can be a deal-killer for new development.
According to HUBA founder Ron Sturgeon, who recently launched the Make Haltom City Thrive Again campaign to educate citizens about the issues, “Current city officials are not even willing to publicly acknowledge the growing vacancy rates and obvious decline along the older corridors.” Additionally, the city seems to go out of its way to issue tickets or warnings rather than work collaboratively with the all-important existing businesses on ordinance compliance. Said one (former) business owner in a recent Facebook post, the “overly-zealous code enforcement department is a big part of the problem” in Haltom City. The city recently added a new code enforcement officer, but still doesn’t have an economic development officer or a plan to solve the 30% vacancy in the Denton Highway corridor or to revitalize the declining south and central parts of the city. The council also added a community health specialist as part of the emergency management. Haltom city has at least three employees in this department, though a Google search indicates that most of its sister cities manage this with one fire department employee. The business community would like to see the budget for an economic development director as a better use of the city’s resources.
HUBA would like to see Haltom City become known as “the friendliest city in Tarrant County for small businesses” while simultaneously improving quality of life for its citizens. Strong Towns is just one of many great resources available, and it is past time for city leadership to get on board.
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 HUBAgrp@gmail.com or visit the group’s Facebook page at Haltom United Business Alliance.
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.
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