American City & County’s 2014 Crown Communities award winners
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Carrollton, Texas – Overall Overhaul
Though more than a century old, the face of Carrollton, Texas, was largely that of the 1970s and 1980s and had clearly lost its luster, with worn-down primary corridors and a tired downtown.
In 2007, the city of 125,000 residents in suburban Dallas approved a bond issue devoted to civic improvement. Since then, the city has undertaken a multi-pronged public works initiative and made it a model for suburban Dallas communities. As a result, Carrollton received top rankings in 2012 and 2013 for its economic development and won a Best Place to Live in America award.
“We laid out a vision and consistently the council has signed on,” says Carrollton Mayor Matthew Marchant. “We realized that if we were going to compete to become a successful area, we needed to revitalize.”
For its dynamic efforts to develop the city as a model community, Carrollton has been designated as a Crown Community for its Overall Overhaul.
The city’s efforts have been focused on five primary areas:
Corridor Beautification – The city has set aside $1.25 million for beautification efforts and has planted 1,400 trees thus far in this initiative to brighten pathways;
Project Raiford – The city acquired 110 acres of prime property and spurred use of 10 acres as a hotel/convention center and 50 acres as single-family, mixed use, walkable development. It also spent $3.5 million to stabilize the banks of and build trails along Furneaux Creek;
Railroad Crossing Quiet Zones – The city is spending $2 million to upgrade safety on BNSF railroad lines so trains passing through will not need to sound horns, thus significantly enhancing lifestyles and property values;
Retail Rehabilitation Program – The city has spent $2.5 million to spur a total of $17.8 million in upgrades to more than 678,000 square feet of retail space throughout the community;
Downtown Carrollton – The city has invested more than $10 million in improvements in its downtown to restore its position as a center of commerce. Projects include reconstructing a park, additional parking and a public/private partnership for mixed-use development in Carrollton Square.
While the redevelopment efforts are still in progress, the community has already notched some victories, as its economic development agency reported $387 million in deals in 2012 and $318 million in 2013, among the best in the Dallas area.
“We have a great community,” Marchant says, “and we want to have the look and feel of a community to match the great people who live here.”