Fort Worth continues to enjoy corporate relocations and expects this Spring to announce two more from California, Mayor Betsy Price said Tuesday.
The companies, which she didn’t identify, want access to the North Texas aviation workforce, major international airport, and growing younger labor base, Price said during her annual Mayor’s State of the City address, held by the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce at the Fort Worth Convention Center. The announcements should come by the end of March, she said.
Price touted numerous accomplishments Fort Worth has made, in fiscal responsibility, becoming a healthier city, community engagement, economic development, and vision for managed growth, public education, transit, and public safety.
“The biggest risk of regression Fort Worth faces is education,” Price said. “Education must improve and must be strong.”
Price said the city is rapidly becoming a city that is drawing and retaining millenials. At one point, “they didn’t necessarily want to stay in Fort Worth,” she said. “I’m proud to say they’re coming back.”
Fort Worth, in emerging from the recession, closed big gaps between projected revenue and expense going into annual budget conversations. This year’s budget provides the money to launch a badly needed far North patrol division. “We’re keeping the politics out of your tax dollars,” Price said.
Price touted progress in the Blue Zones Project well-being initiative, including 20 restaurants that have been Blue Zones-approved, 8,000 personal pledges, and nearly 53,000 employees reached through Blue Zones worksite designations. Price also touted her annual FitWorth initiative, which she said has resulted in a 4 percent decrease in obese and overweight children since inception.
Price touted the city’s ongoing efforts to engage the public, including a recent one-hour Twitter town hall featuring the new police chief, Joel Fitzgerald.
Fort Worth’s 2015 was a historic year, with 15 deals representing more than $3 billion in investment and creating more than 5,000 jobs. The major wins included the announced $1 billion Facebook data center announcement and Facebook’s recent purchase of another 39 acres; Galderma and Smith & Nephew expansions; expansion of the NGC Chinese wind turbine company North American headquarters at Alliance; and Lockheed Martin’s planned Fort Worth reconfiguration expected to bring 1,000 employees over the next two years and a 30 percent increase in F-35 fighter production.
On the tourism front, the city has requests for proposals out on a new convention center hotel, and expects those back by the end of February, Price said.
“On the economic development front, there’s no end in sight,” Price said.
Photo credit: Minh Phan, Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce