Cedar Hill, Texas, United States

Cedar Hill Economic Development Strategic Plan

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Cedar Hill is driven by its values of trust, service, and collaboration.

Context

Cedar Hill, the oldest organized community in Dallas County, grew from a rural town of 6,850 in 1980 to a diverse, suburban community with an estimated population of 47,320 in 2017. Due to the rapid nature of growth and the City’s desire to maintain its character while empowering its economy, Anthem was engaged to lead an economic development strategic planning process.

Scope of Deliverables

  • Stakeholder Engagement Plan

  • Communications & PR

  • Values, Vision, Mission Workshop

  • Community SOAR Analysis with Dashboard

  • Small Business Development Program & Toolkit

  • City EDC Staff Small Business Development Program Training

  • Parcel Inventory & Target Industry Analysis

  • Local Supply Chain Analysis & Report

  • Economic Incentives Program Recommendations

  • Final Economic Development Strategic Plan Deliverable

Overview

Work Completed

Phase 1: Communicating the Vision has been completed. In this phase, our team worked directly with the City of Cedar Hill staff, members of City Council, and members of the Cedar Hill Economic Development Corporation to gather stakeholder engagement over the course of two months, culminating in a two-day workshop with a diverse array of community members, business leaders, and youth. Anthem used interactive engagement techniques such as a live Story Swap, Resonance Ranking, Visioning Scenarios, and Testimonial Booth to capture citizens’ narratives, using surprise prompts to inspire shifts in perspective about their own community. What we found was that Cedar Hill, Texas is one of the most accepting, welcoming communities we have had the privilege of working within. At each step in the engagement process, community members showed themselves willing to share vulnerably while working together to define the boundaries of their economic development interests.

Key priorities for the City include talent attraction, small business development/retention, and new business attraction. They offer a quality of life that is both regionally and nationally competitive thanks to the priority they have given to preserving and expanding outdoor recreation and natural amenities- all things that are being incorporated into the final strategic plan through the use of an interactive dashboard to track the alignment of economic development activities with Cedar Hill’s economic development values.

Phase 2: Capacity-Building has been completed. In this phase, our team analyzed mountains of local, regional, and national data to develop an alternative to a SWOT Analysis known as a SOAR Analysis- Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations, Results. The SOAR Analysis revealed that the City is in a prime position to capitalize on their diversity and quality of life to become the Recreation Technology capital of Texas, providing competition to the Central Texas market with its higher cost of living. Anthem used GIS mapping and qualitative data from Phase 1 of the project to create a detailed Parcel Analysis, Supply Chain Analysis (subcontractor: Cureate), ecological and sustainability recommendations (subcontractor: MaasVerde Landscape Restoration), and complete streets recommendations (subcontractor: TJKM Transportation).

Work in Progress

The Anthem team is currently working to complete Phase 3: Final Strategic Plan, a 30-page report supported by all project deliverables as appendices and an implementation plan delivered in the City’s project management tool of choice, Asana, so that the plan is ready to be implemented immediately and avoid the typical fate of sitting on the shelf. Anticipated completion in September 2021.

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Cedar Hill, Texas is ready to embark on a new chapter of innovation in economic development.

The economic vision for Cedar Hill is to create an environment where business and community collaborate for their mutual benefit, strengthening the sense of connection that makes Cedar Hill remarkable. The values of trust, service, and collaboration represent two things: the way Cedar Hill views itself, and the social contract that is entered into by anyone doing business in Cedar Hill.

“Having the proper industry here, bringing the proper types of opportunities for jobs [is the] key to how Cedar Hill is going to develop in the future.”

Councilperson Daniel C. Haydin, Jr.

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