Regional growth and economic development on the western side of North Texas is the goal of a new partnership announced by the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce and 18 other entities on May 10.
The Regional Economic Development Partnership brings together more than 18 municipalities and counties to strengthen community relationships, track business trends and share data and resources.
The partnership will have a dual focus: supporting existing local businesses through enhanced retention efforts as well as marketing the region as a target destination for relocating companies.
“We’re extremely proud to launch this initiative with nearly 20 organizations committed to date,” said Chris Strayer, executive vice president of economic development for the Fort Worth Chamber. “This collaboration provides invaluable information and resources to our regional partners and we’re so excited to work together to grow and develop our local economy.”
The chamber often works on requests for proposals that make more sense for surrounding communities and it passes those on to other economic development groups, Strayer said.
“Even though the project might land in Fort Worth, Grapevine and Southlake and those other communities might benefit, or will benefit from those projects, and vice versa, but we want to make sure that we’re giving all those projects the ability to look at the entire community, the entire region so that we’re not leaving a stone unturned with the opportunity for job creation and investment in the community,” he said.
The chamber has been talking with the regional partners about working together for quite some time, Strayer said.
“We developed a scope of services with them, that we can help them with different things and do different business development activities and whatnot,” he said.
The partnership is just the first step.
“Our whole goal is just to get everyone around the table so we’re having a comprehensive discussion around economic development,” Strayer said.
The chamber expects for other organizations to join the partnership, Strayer said.
“Each of these organizations has their own decision-making process, but I’m sure others will join,” he said.
The members of the partnership will join the Fort Worth Chamber with regional partnership funds earmarked to grow the region through business attraction, marketing, and project management, Strayer said.
Patrick Lawler, executive director for the Parker County Economic Development Council, said partnering with the Fort Worth Chamber makes economic sense.
“As Parker County continues to experience rapid growth, we are excited to partner with the Fort Worth Chamber in our efforts to recruit and retain great employers,” he said.
Regional Economic Development Partnership
The founding partners that have made commitments to invest in the organization include the cities of Burleson, Corinth, Granbury, Joshua, Keller, Mansfield, Saginaw, Southlake and Weatherford, along with the Cleburne Economic Development Foundation Inc., Decatur Economic Development Corporation, Grapevine Economic Development, HEB Economic Development Foundation, North Richland Hills Economic Development, and Parker County Economic Development.