Since mid-2009 when the recession and contraction of the job market became the new staples of the American economy, relocation has become necessary for many people. Individuals and families are basically following the jobs, moving to new locales and often downsizing their lives in the process. There are, however, strong communities that do not require a compromised lifestyle in the name of economic security. Allen, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, is an excellent example of this scenario.
Texas has weathered the economic downturn with relative stability and the state is increasingly attracting new residents, especially in North Texas, a region anchored by the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Dallas is the third largest city in Texas and the ninth largest in the United States. Taken as a whole, DFW represents the 12th largest metro economy in the world and is a growing center for tech industries in the American southwest.
New residents desirous of buying or renting a home in Dallas or the surrounding region have numerous suburbs from which to choose. Of those, however, Allen clearly stands out in terms of location, stability, and the strength of its local economy bolstered by active economic development and planning.
** Active Economic Development in Allen **
The Allen Economic Development Corporation (AEDC), a non-profit, has been instrumental in ushering the community through the recession with creative marketing techniques and a program of incentives geared toward recruiting business growth and jobs for the city.
Lying just 23 miles north of Dallas — about a 30-minute drive — Allen is home to approximately 84,000 residents. In July 2010, “Money Magazine” ranked Allen 16th on its list of 100 Best Small Cities, a tribute to the rapid evolution of the community, which embraced a program of economic development and stimulus 18 years ago. That effort has paid off handsomely in terms of both local growth and the preservation of the city’s small town values and high quality of life.
** Visible Success in Growth and Job Creation **
As early as January 1992, Allen residents approved a half-cent sales tax to support the activities of the AEDC. That forward thinking has allowed the AEDC in the years since to add more than $ 856 million to the city’s tax rolls through business and industrial recruitment.
Leveraging a multi-million dollar budget and utilizing incentives for training, infrastructure, and tax advantages, the AEDC has worked in partnership with business, industry, and real estate professionals on a carefully crafted series of projects. Consequently, the AEDC has:
– spearheaded the development of top-quality business parks in Allen,
– worked to keep existing commercial spaces filled even during the recession,
– and contributed to plans for the community’s major corridors for future growth and job creation.
Projects in which the AEDC has been instrumental include:
– Millennium Technology Park, a 92-acre installation along US 75, that is home to Finisar, Xtera, Photronics, ICBS, and WatchGuard;
– Enterprise Business Park, which includes DEY Laboratories, Celerity, Experian, Jack Henry & Associates, Micron, and Sanmina-SCI; and
– Allen Station Business Park, developed by Trammel Crow Company adjacent to the Allen Historic Dam and currently housing, Premiere Election Solutions, J. Suzette & Company, Nextel, Specialized Resources, State Farm Insurance Regional Claims Office, and Andrews Distribution.
The economic stimulus derived from these projects has, in turn, contributed to the evolution of an active community life in Allen.
** A Strong Economy Means a Strong Community **
Life in Allen is not a matter of compromise, but one of choices. Within a 15-mile radius, residents may dine at any one of 3,448 restaurants before going to their pick of 38 movie theaters. There are 154 public golf courses within 30 miles of the city in addition to Lake Lavon to the east and Lake Lewisville to the west. (Each of these bodies of water covers more than 20,000 acres.)
Local sports leagues and programs at various community centers and public facilities satisfy the needs of players and outdoor enthusiasts, while the entire North Texas region is eagerly anticipating the 2011 Super Bowl to be hosted in Cowboys Stadium in neighboring Arlington.
For more refined pastimes, there are five nationally accredited museums within 30 miles of Allen and both the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas and Bass Hall in Fort Worth routinely feature world-class artists and performing groups.
Allen has a superior school system with fifteen Allen ISD campuses carrying an exemplary rating. Institutions of higher learning in the area include Texas Christian University, Southern Methodist University, the University of Dallas, and the University of Texas at Arlington.
** Relocation to North Texas Opens Opportunities **
The geographic dislocation caused by the recession is also an opportunity for singles and families to discover life in thriving small cities like Allen. There, guided by efforts like those of the AEDC, community-minded progress and aggressive economic development have paired with an exceptional local lifestyle. The end result is a smaller, more stable municipality that combines the best of all worlds, ease of access to a major metropolitan environment grounded on the foundation of a strong, well-tended local economy.