After every site visit, our economic development team conducts a “postmortem” which is basically a review of the site visit, identify what we did right and address weaknesses to improve for the next time.
While it is important to be self-aware of your weaknesses, it is more important to listen to the site consultant and/or the prospect. Listening is only half the battle, taking action is where the rubber meets the road.
In late 2020, we came very close to landing two projects which eventually went to other communities in Texas. The reasons why we finished second were varied except for one key variable…the Wichita Falls Business Park.
Our 535-acre park is located on multi-laned Highway 287 and is home to Wichita Clutch, Old Dominion Trucking, and Fed Ex. It has the infrastructure in place, but not throughout the park. Additionally, the park only has one ingress and egress via Fisher Road.
One of the reasons we lost these projects is because our business park needed better access and improvements to infrastructure. That is what the prospect and the site consultant told us.
They spoke, we listened.
Recently, the Wichita Falls Economic Development Corporation (WFEDC) board and the Wichita Falls City Council took action to issue $10 Million of bonds to upgrade the park. What does that mean?
- Fisher Road will be widened, and the boulevard will be completed
- Midwestern Parkway East will be extended (and widened) to Hammon Road to create a second entry point to the park
- Water and Sewer lines will be extended and upgraded throughout the park
- Hammons Road will be improved to handle heavy truck traffic
The work will be done in three phases and start later this summer. All upgrades and construction should be completed by the 4th Quarter of 2022. When completed, the Wichita Falls Business Park will truly be “shovel-ready”.
Losing projects is not something any economic development agency enjoys. Learning from your loss and addressing the needs of the site selector and client will establish a greater chance for future success.
Have questions? Email David today.