“You have to have a grass roots effort and vision, as well as the support of city leaders and the money, in order to revitalize downtown”, said Buttram. Though it is likely that bonds will be voted on in the future to continue helping Forney grow, Buttram does not anticipate any new taxes. In fact, from 2005 to 2011, the Forney sales tax revenue doubled, with the city taking in nearly 3.5 million dollars in sales tax last year.
Buttram’s vision of downtown Forney is, “A place where every person of every age, race, and socio-economic status is enticed to be together, hang out and enjoy each other’s company.” She feels downtown Forney will tie the community together long term and be the keeper of the towns heritage. Remodeling is going on at the old fire house across the street from Crumbzz and Buttram intends to make sure existing downtown businesses learn about a $5,000 grant that is available to help spruce up the outside of their buildings. New paint, a new façade and new awnings can all be paid for with the grant money the Forney EDC has available.
Our EDC leader also made it clear that the entire downtown area will be revitalized long term, and not just the small piece of Bois D’Arc Street. The city wants a pedestrian friendly area where small businesses thrive and visitors want to come back time and time again. Buttram and the City of Forney are working with the Aria group on a new survey for Forney area residents. She says, “We want to re-brand Forney so that we have a brand we can market to businesses. We want the people to feel that they are part of it, they own it and they get a say in what Forney will be.” The EDC has an online “re-branding” survey and they are asking all Forney residents to take it. It will take only 5-10 minutes to do the survey and have your voice heard as to what businesses you want to bring to Forney, and what you don’t want. You can find the survey by clicking here. Results will be collected until February 26th.
Be sure to stay tuned for part two of the inForney.com interview with EDC Executive Director Kim Buttram. We’ll discuss the new amphitheater, the Forney Bridge, and more exciting news about businesses coming to Forney and what the short and long term plans are for our community. You don’t want to miss it!