By THEO MELANCON, Dayton City Manager
The City of Dayton has always had outstanding attributes as a community for residents and businesses alike. It has a small town feel with strong connections that bind people together. Community events have long histories, and the newest events find traction with high turnouts. Sitting at the crossroads of so many state highways, the railroad, airports, seaports, etc., Dayton has always been poised to have a vibrant economy.
What has changed is the community has come together and worked to develop master plans, innovative finance solutions to place infrastructure in the ground, craft strategic plans to drive city initiatives, and work as a partner with local and regional stakeholders. Doors are opening at a fast pace because word is getting out that doing business with the City of Dayton makes good business sense. Our goal is to mold a community that maintains its small town feel, while keeping jobs and entertainment opportunities nearby. Those opportunities are beginning to bear fruit.
The City of Dayton was the focal point of a discussion at the Texas Chapter of the American Planning Association (APATX). In partnership with Kendig Keast Collaborative, we are not merely drawing arbitrary lines to designate land use areas; the City is working with the Dayton Community Development Corporation (DCDC) in conjunction with Kendig Keast to develop a land use map that makes sense in the real world and is backed by market analysis. The use of market tools and analytics to drive land use decisions is not revolutionary, but it has turned heads. Cities around Texas want to know how Dayton is doing this and want to stay tuned as we put these plans into action.
The Dayton City Council has been prescient in regard to regulations. They know that to bring in the right types of development, regulations would be necessary. The task laid before staff was to make the rules make sense. The use of market analytics and including data from the Dayton Community Development Corporation helps us to place business and residential uses in the most effective places in the community.
The Dayton Community Development Corporation has been aggressive in its advertisement of the City’s resources to commercial interests. This has culminated in the City being featured on the cover of FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) Alliance magazine. Dayton has become a hot topic in investment circles around Europe. FDI Alliance and DCDC partnered up at the FDI Expo in London, United Kingdom to showcase Dayton’s potential as an investment hub for Europe. The exposure has been monumental as British investors are beginning to inquire more about this Southeast Texas town.
The City Council and staff are in unison in the belief that the community deserves the best that we can provide. We stand at a pivotal time in Dayton’s history. By encouraging the right developers, who bring the right jobs, with the right residential mix of homes, along with great quality of life components, Dayton can truly shine in the Houston Metro as a beacon.