Fort Worth Economic Development Partnership

Fort Worth plans infrastructure as it leads the country in population growth in 2023

Fort Worth led the country in population growth last year, and now developers are working with the city to make sure there’s room for everyone.

As more people move to Fort Worth, the city is planning for additional growth. Some of the last undeveloped land in the city is west of Loop 820. Walsh Companies has been building a planned community on 7,500 acres in the area.

Walsh is building 1,500 homes on 3,500 acres of ranch land. The company has also been working on 1,500 acres of mixed use projects, and Walsh has now announced 2,500 acres of industrial and manufacturing space.

“We’ve really focused on horizontal development the last couple years in terms of delivering economic development opportunities south of 20,” says Chief Executive Ryan Dickerson.

Dickerson says Walsh is working to create a development where people do not have to commute to another area for work. He says the company is now focused on 450 acres of flat land that could have room for a large industrial or manufacturing project with easy access to I-20 and rail.

“We intend to really focus on legacy and try to deliver a user there who puts a lot of people to work,” he says.

Robert Allen, chief executive of the Fort Worth Economic Development Partnership, says public-private partnerships can ensure long-term economic growth.

“If we recruit a business to Fort Worth, work with our partners at the city, go through all the issues to land a project, then in five or ten years they say, ‘We’re taking a check from Florida, and we’re moving,’ I haven’t done my job,” he says.

Allen says the partnership has focused on smart development instead of just adding more apartments, stores or lane miles on the roads. He says development in different parts of the city should maintain a neighborhood’s character.

“My team and I have said, ‘no,’ to a lot of projects because this is such a unique place,” he says. “You’ve got to be thoughtful about making sure what you bring here will be here long after I’m gone.”

The group talked about how to accommodate development during the Tarrant Transportation Summit.

As Fort Worth grows, Kelly Porter, assistant director of transportation and public works for regional transportation and innovation, says his department is working with the North Central Texas Council of Governments and the state to ensure people and freight can move among different parts of the city like Downtown, Lockheed and the Joint Reserve Base west of Downtown and Alliance.

“We have to think differently how we move people and goods,” he says. “That’s going to be a good regional system to move people in and out of the core from the suburbs in and out and connecting those suburban communities.”

Porter says those relationships with regional and state entities can help North Texas compete with other areas for federal grant money to expand infrastructure.

“We’re going to have to have some big ideas,” he says. “When I was born, Fort Worth was under 400,000 people. I won’t say when I was born, but now we’re hitting that million mark.”

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