Architect/Arlington TX City Councilperson Rebecca Boxall discusses form-based codes in Keeping the Lights on Downtown in America’s Small Cities, 2nd Edition

HALTOM CITY, TX, June 27, 2023 /24-7PressRelease/ — In the second edition of their book, Keeping the Lights on Downtown in America’s Small Cities, authors Gregory Smith and Ron Sturgeon include seven new chapters that expound on topics of interest to city leaders in today’s challenging environment:

• Form-Based Codes: What They Are and Why Cities Should Consider Adopting Them (Written by Architect and Arlington TX City Councilwoman Rebecca Boxall)
• Impediments to Small Business Starting & Growing and Keys to Returning Commerce and Prosperity
• Failed Revitalization Ideas (TIRZ and other mistakes).
• A Form-Based Code Success Story: Mansfield, Texas
• Understanding Real Estate: A Key to Revitalization
• Choosing, Sizing, and Prioritizing Your Initiative: Strategic Thinking
• Ready to Be the Evangelist? It Can Be a Lonely Assignment.

In Chapter 16, Rebecca Boxall makes the concept of Form-Based Codes easy to understand. As a registered architect and Arlington, Texas City Councilperson, Ms. Boxall is well aware of the challenges faced by city leaders and understands the obstacles involved when working to reverse inner-city decline.

According to Ms. Boxall, form-based codes emphasize design over type of use. Says Boxall, “A city describes in general how they want their city to look, but the code does not prescribe in excessive regulations how to get there.” As such, form-based codes allow for greater creativity and out-of-the-box problem solving, promote owner cooperation and citizen buy-in, and help preserve (or create) the unique characteristics of a city or certain neighborhoods within its borders. Because form-based codes are more flexible and easier to regulate, they tend to attract more businesses, allow for more starter homes to be available, and enable the innovation needed to upgrade older housing as well. They also save city staff time when it comes to review, because adoption of the codes themselves serve as a pre-review function.

Book co-author Ron Sturgeon is a passionate advocate for his hometown of Haltom City, Texas and feels strongly that the growth of small businesses must be prioritized to reverse continuing inner-city decline. In 2020, Sturgeon founded the Haltom United Business Alliance (HUBA), a group which represents small businesses and advocates for progress. Then in 2022, he initiated a Make Haltom City Thrive Again movement which aims to bring attention to the issues and stress the urgent need for city council members who will work to make Haltom “the friendliest city in Tarrant County for small businesses.”

As part of the Make Haltom City Thrive Again campaign, Sturgeon will provide a free copy of Keeping the Lights On to any Haltom City resident or business owner who requests one. If you’d like a free copy, send a quick e-mail with your name and address to Ron Sturgeon at [email protected].

About Ron Sturgeon
Ron Sturgeon, “Mr. Mission Possible,” combines 40+ years of entrepreneurship with a deep resume in consulting. When his dad died and Ron had no place to live, 17-year-old Ron began a career in entrepreneurship which led to his building a chain of salvage yards sold to Ford in 1999. After his repurchase of Greenleaf from Ford and subsequent resale to Schnitzer, Ron became a real estate investor. He has 1,500+ tenants and loves small businesses. As a consultant, Ron shares his expertise in strategic planning, capitalization, compensation, growing market share, providing field-proven, high-profit, best practices well ahead of the curve. He has recently published his tenth book, Keeping the Lights on Downtown in America’s Small Cities, and is leading a grassroots effort to bring prosperity back to the city where his business career began. He was recently a finalist in Ft. Worth Inc’s Entrepreneur of Excellence competition.

About Haltom City
Haltom City is a medium-sized city between Dallas and Fort Worth in Tarrant County, TX. The city is diverse and majority working class, with a growing population that is approximately 10% Asian-American and 45% Hispanic. Haltom City benefits from being only minutes from both DFW Airport and Downtown Fort Worth, with direct access to major highways including I-820 and SH-121. Small businesses that have historically provided products, services, and jobs to residents included a once thriving automotive industry. The city has seen a decline in small businesses, especially automotive businesses. The city is healthy financially, with median household income growing around 8% in the past year. Haltom City has an opportunity for continued growth through undeveloped land and many vacant buildings, especially in major corridors close to the city’s center. The city has good staff and a city manager who is interested in seeing more businesses come to Haltom City, but they can only do as directed by City Council.

About Haltom United Business Alliance
Haltom United Business Alliance (HUBA) wants to give members of Haltom City’s business community an advocate and to keep those businesses informed about issues that affect them. They want to make sure Haltom City is business friendly and nurtures small business growth, including automotive businesses in the industrial districts, and bring more restaurants including breweries and eventually a major grocery store to the city. New businesses and growth in existing businesses will create a stronger tax base which will allow the city to pay its first responders wages that are competitive with surrounding cities while improving Haltom City’s facilities and infrastructure. HUBA believes that the southern and central parts of the city need a revitalization plan, to prevent further degradation in those areas, and wants that to happen before the inner-city experiences increased crime and more blight. As retail and office uses are in decline, it’s more critical than ever to attract new businesses. They believe that such a plan requires a strong relationship and support of the business community. Anyone who owns a business in Haltom City is eligible to join HUBA. Dues are $20 annually or $50 for a lifetime membership, and membership is 100% confidential. To join, contact Joe Palmer at (682) 310-0591 or by email at [email protected]. Visit the group’s Facebook at Haltom United Business Alliance.

About Make Haltom City Thrive Again
The Make Haltom City Thrive Again website offers information and resources about its purpose and goals. For more on Sturgeon’s personal ideas and background, check out his book Keeping the Lights on Downtown in America’s Small Cities and watch the videos on his Facebook page. Ron is also the founder of the Haltom United Business Alliance (HUBA) which represents existing business interests in Haltom City and promotes growth of diverse businesses as well. HUBA is not a political action committee and does not endorse candidates. If/when Ron endorses candidates, he will do so on his own with the Make Haltom City Thrive Again organization.

For the original version of this press release, please visit here