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Economic Development Strategic Plan – Part 2

Economic Development Strategic Plan – Part 2

In the last article, talked a lot about investment risk and why that is a bad thing.  To recap – it’s bad because investment avoids risk and capital (money) flows to security.  We briefly mentioned some of the things that your local governments are doing to lessen this risk.

However, an area that has too much risk starts a negative spiral.  Too much risk keeps investment away and no investment leads to less economic activity which leads to your local governments not having resources to take care of things which creates a more risky environment. 

A market failure is created when this happens.  And when there is a market failure, investment locks up and it becomes difficult to do anything.  Usually, only the public sector can take actions to resolve a market failure.

The goal of Rockdale’s economic development plan is “for a significant deployment of public resources and leadership to reduce investment risk and ameliorate Rockdale’s market failure so that capital investment will flow into Rockdale.”

There are seven action areas included in the plan and we won’t go over all of them but we will start to highlight some, why they are important, and what we are currently doing.

Rockdale has a tremendous opportunity to capitalize on what’s going on in the region.  Rockdale is now being considered as a secondary market to Austin.  That’s not me saying that – other real estate folks are saying it.  As such, it is now much easier to capitalize on these trends to accomplish our goal.

Building up our community leadership and civic infrastructure is very important and soon we are going to have to make hard decisions for Rockdale’s future.  We need to make sure our leaders are knowledgeable and can work together.  This will also involve getting folks to the table who may not have historically been engaged.  This is one of the reasons for creating the Rockdale Leadership program.

We can work to use the new Rockdale industrial park and the Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics Center at SLR to attract new industry, such as technology suppliers, creating well-paying jobs and building up the tax base.  There are unrelated industries that would also be a good fit, such as food processors and medical device manufacturers.

Workforce development programs are also important because we want local folks to be able to get jobs at these new companies – they won’t get the jobs unless they have skills or have access to training.  Rockdale ISD is working to establish the College and Career Academy and get a Temple College satellite campus in town.

Housing demand will increase with regional job creation.  We need to make sure that housing developments can get City utilities and be annexed into the City. 

Will Rockdale get an HEB?  YES, you can count on it!  But, we don’t know when.  Retail follows housetops; restaurants (Whataburger and Chick-fil-A) and grocery stores will come when the population gets to a certain point.  The MDD has a tool where we can directly contact unique business owners and ask them to open a place in Rockdale.  We will eventually create programs to encourage residents to pursue their dreams of starting their own business.

I realize this is a lot to take in, but We are going to do great things in Rockdale, Texas!