3/3/2010 12:00 AM
When officials in the East Texas town of Chandler wanted an independent analysis of the community's strengths and assets to build an economic development plan and help recruit new businesses, they called on TEEX.
TEEX's economic development specialists recently completed the town's first Community Profile, a report filled with data and information that Chandler can use for strategic planning and attracting new businesses to spur growth.
"Our goal was to identify the community's strengths and why a business would move to Chandler," said Program Manager Sue Ann Palmore, with TEEX's Technology & Economic Development division. "We looked at everything from population and income, existing industry, parks, healthcare, recreational facilities, schools, housing, infrastructure, crime rate, and more.
"Businesses want to know what a community has to offer employees and their families. Chandler has a lot going for it," she added.
The town of 2,631 is just 10 miles west of Tyler and eight miles from Lake Palestine. A new National Guard training facility is under construction a few miles away and the East Texas Fairgrounds is nearby. A new housing development for people over 55 is already under construction in Chandler.
The town is located off State Highway 31, which runs from Athens to Tyler, and nearly 18,000 cars drive through Chandler each day. "But city officials want to learn what they can do to get these drivers to stop and spend money in their town," Palmore added.
The report's detailed research and objective data analysis are reasons why communities call on TEEX for economic development studies, she said. TEEX specialists not only collected data on the community, but they also interviewed 30 residents and incorporated their views.
A quick look at the report revealed three strengths the community can promote: leisure, hospitality and recreation.
Chandler officials have already taken the first step toward recruiting a hotel chain to locate a motel in the community- it will be Chandler's first one. City Administrator Jim Moffeit has also been talking to a couple of fast food franchises.
The study was funded in part by TARGET (Technical Assistance for Regional Growth in Economic Development), a TEEX initiative that helps communities reach their economic development potential. In addition to community profiles and assessments, the program offers strategic planning, workforce analysis, emergency planning and manufacturing assistance.