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How Can Rockdale React to the new SLR Development?

How Can Rockdale React to the new SLR Development?

Someone recently said to me – “All this stuff at the ALCOA land is going to kill Rockdale.”  I have been here a little over 2 years and I have seen Rockdale be a little town with a lot of grit.  If I have learned anything, Rockdale is going to be hard to kill and we won’t go down without a fight.

So what’s the plan?  How can Rockdale continue to exist and thrive in spite of a lot of economic activity in the backyard.  The answer is surprisingly simple.

First, we’re not going to panic.  It’s easy to get scared and have an emotional reaction out of fear.  But we need clear, rational heads where we can think creatively.

We must give folks a reason to choose Rockdale.  We can build a community that has a lot of social capital or that ‘small-town charm’.  Some people will choose to move an authentic place like this over a sterile, restrictive development.

Rockdale needs to be the cool place with a soul where entrepreneurs want to start a new business.  This is everything from a small shop, unique restaurant, or a tech start-up.  That kind of environment will thrive in a community with a lot of social capital and can yield large returns.

The concept for the new industrial park on the east side of town is a smaller space for servicers and suppliers to locate.  We are wanting to get other light manufacturers out there to create a second job center.

There is a small window of opportunity for Rockdale to get residential development.  Housing supply at SLR will come after jobs are created at the new Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics Center (AMLC).  In between, Rockdale can position itself as a place to develop housing now, which will lead to the next item.

We must secure as much commercial development inside the city limits as possible.  This will mean extending the City’s utility system, annexing property, and working with developers to build commercial space for retail businesses.  This will help the City secure its tax base and build up its sales tax revenue.

We are going to do great things in Rockdale, Texas!