“Without a plan, nothing is going to change” says author Ron Sturgeon
HALTOM CITY, TX, November 30, 2022 /24-7PressRelease/ — Ron Sturgeon is a man on a mission. A self-made millionaire who started his first business fifty years ago, Ron’s goal is to save the city that provided more than one opportunity for him to achieve the American Dream.
Ron started out as a homeless and broke teenager in need of a job in Haltom City, Texas after his father died when Ron was a senior in high school. Thanks to hard work, he was eventually able to purchase a single-wide mobile home in the city for his family. The first of many business endeavors started when he upgraded to a double-wide and rented out the single as an income-producing property. Since then, he has built a number of successful businesses and earned the moniker “serial entrepreneur.” He was recently named a finalist in Fort Worth Inc’s competition for Entrepreneur of Excellence.
At the same time, Ron has become increasingly concerned about certain areas of Haltom City that are in steady decline. Although he’d wondered about cause and effect, he hadn’t “connected the dots” to restrictive city policies and a demoralizing application process (with the city council) until he went through an unusually onerous approval process for an event center that he wanted to open a few years ago.
So he began to do some research. What he found was that an environment of disconnect between city leadership including the city council and the small business community was at least partly to blame. He also discovered with research that American cities that were open to innovation and collaboration were seeing success.
Wanting to help, Ron founded the Haltom United Business Alliance (HUBA) in 2020 and began doing more research in order to write a book on the subject. Keeping the Lights on Downtown in America was released in the spring of 2022 and has already garnered many positive reviews, with a five-star rating on Amazon after a year.
A key element in the book is the “Concept Plan for Haltom City – Or Your City!” that follows the epilogue. Ron makes it clear that the 21-point plan is presented in the hope of initiating a collaborative effort of review, discussion, revision, and action. A few highlights are as follows:
• Update the use matrix and reduce red tape and extensive hearings (particularly for the declining areas) since they ultimately discourage business owners from choosing Haltom City. Why go through the hassle when neighboring cities are more business friendly?
• Let business and property owners serve on boards and even on the city council, whether as voting members or consultants. According to Ron, “Any city that thinks business or property owners’ opinions and ideas aren’t valuable has a large disconnect. And that leaves a lot of brainpower not used. In addition, business and property owners feel disenfranchised.”
• Recognize that private investment – not public money – is needed to restore declining areas. Although Haltom City recently proposed a 30-year Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) for infrastructure and public improvements in certain areas, studies have shown that TIRZ’s only have the best result when backed up with private investment. Forging strong relationships with the business community and attracting small business is the best and fastest way to get vacant buildings occupied. HUBA has submitted many ideas to the city on this topic, most of which would cost the city next-to-nothing.
As stated in the book, “The bottom line is that a thriving city depends on a thriving and diverse business community offering products and services for customers within the city and from the surrounding areas, and employment for people in the area.” Ron’s hope is that Keeping the Lights On “will help residents, business owners, city planners and managers, and civic leaders see the problems and the opportunities in a new light.”
About Haltom City
Haltom City is a diverse, majority working-class city located between Dallas and Fort Worth in Tarrant County, TX. Haltom City is minutes from both the DFW Airport and Downtown Fort Worth with direct access to major highways including I-820 and SH-121. Due to an outdated and restrictive use matrix that discourages new business and deters growth, several areas of Haltom City have seen a decline in small businesses which provided goods and services and were a significant source of jobs, including the once-thriving automotive industry. However, Haltom City has the opportunity to reverse this trend and should prioritize development of inner-city land and vacant buildings, particularly in the major corridors close to the city’s center. The city is financially healthy with a capable manager and staff who would like to see diverse business development occur and need the support of the City Council to make it happen.
About Haltom United Business Alliance
Haltom United Business Alliance (HUBA) is a group of business owners dedicated to representing existing business interests in Haltom City while promoting the growth of diverse businesses as well. HUBA recognizes that effective and strategic business growth can create a stronger tax base and will serve to enhance quality of life for residents, city employees, and business owners as well. All Haltom City business owners are eligible to join HUBA. Dues are $20 annually or $50 for a lifetime membership, and membership is 100% confidential. For more information, contact Joe Palmer at (682) 310-0591 or by email at [email protected] or visit the HUBA Facebook Page.
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