Once considered a sleepy college town on the outskirts of the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) Metroplex, Denton has experienced extensive growth since the city’s last comprehensive economic development plan in 2003. Since then, City leaders have made investments in the downtown district and an industrial park that put Denton squarely in the path of the DFW region’s explosive growth. While this expansion has created opportunities for the city, it also created an inflection point. Rather than attracting growth, Denton needed a strategy for responding to and embracing it. Furthermore, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic threatened the trajectory of Denton’s hard-won growth and prosperity. The city needed support in accelerating Denton’s economic recovery and the ability to leverage public and private resources to capitalize on the opportunities that lie ahead.
To set a modern direction for its economic development efforts, the City of Denton engaged TIP Strategies to create a new strategic plan focusing on short-term economic recovery as well as long-term growth and prosperity. TIP conducted an economic assessment of Denton including a full SWOT analysis, review of policies, and analysis of its existing tax base. Then, Denton was benchmarked against other DFW communities to identify opportunities and gaps in the city’s economic development tools. A review of traditional and nontraditional incentives was conducted to inform Denton’s future incentives use and local policies. Based on the assessments and stakeholder input, a new vision and goals for economic development were created, incorporating feedback from City Council, the Economic Development Partnership Board, and other business and community stakeholders. Finally, an actionable strategic plan and implementation guidance was provided to inform how Denton accelerates economic recovery, fosters growth in strategic growth areas, and strengthens community inclusion for existing residents and communities.