Growing smart in Dayton

By DAYTON CITY MANAGER THEO MELANCON

First and foremost, it is a pleasure to provide content to the Bluebonnet News. My goal in all of this is to provide unique insight into how a City Manager looks at the common issues and future plans of a city.

Residents of Dayton have heard for years that growth was on the horizon. They heard that one day the copacetic relaxed feel of a farming community with blue collar roots would meet an ever-expanding Houston metro. In this backdrop, the perception of having things one way or the other was created. The truth is, there is a way to accommodate growth without losing one’s identity in the process.

The City Council has set out an agenda to include the management of growth so that Dayton keeps its small-town feel, while adding big city amenities. These do not have to be mutually exclusive. Through good land use planning, mobility infrastructure, new and improved park amenities, and forward thinking, the City of Dayton will be able to accommodate many lifestyles.

Our median age has dropped precipitously over the last few years. This means younger families are moving to Dayton. Our median age is around 35 years old. Not even a decade ago, the average age was over 40 years old. A close working relationship with the County and School District will be instrumental in providing the services people of all ages need.

As part of this, the attraction and retention of primary jobs that can provide living wages is integral in our future success. In the coming months and years, people will see new businesses joining our community and the issuance of incentives from the City and Dayton Community Development Corporation (DCDC). We are in a worldwide competition for businesses. The State of Texas alone has dozens of communities ripe for development and the willingness to provide incentives. Dayton has the infrastructure underground with pipelines and the means to transport through rail, highway, airway, and by barge to make us competitive for jobs that will keep our younger generation closer to home for a good wage job.

It is important to keep in mind that incentives provided by public entities are thoroughly regulated by the State of Texas. DCDC and the City have worked closely with the State of Texas, our audit firm, and our legal counsel to ensure that we provide competitive incentive packages that will meet the high standards set by our state legislature.

Our community only has one opportunity to manage this growth properly. It is much easier and cheaper to plan and regulate growth before it arrives than trying to fund redevelopment projects once the developments have been built. We provide open houses and open meetings to our various workshops and meetings. I would strongly encourage people to be a part of the conversation and be a part of future planning.

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