Dennis Clayton joined Jim Kelley in this edition of the Champions DFW Commercial Realty Radio Show and Podcast. Dennis is the economic development director in Weatherford, Texas. This is an excerpt of Jim and Dennis’ conversation, and the podcast is a free download.
Jim Kelley: I like to say it’s truly where the city meets the west because a lot of times Fort Worth gets that tag but Weatherford is west of Fort Worth. Dennis, there’s a lot of great things going on in Weatherford. Thank you for being here. Let’s start off by telling our listeners a little bit about yourself and then we’ll get into things about Weatherford.
Dennis Clayton: It’s my pleasure to be here. Thank you guys and Weatherford thanks you, too. I have to say yes we really tag on the fact that Weatherford is now the western gateway to the metroplex and I think you’ll see that. I’ve been in economic development for about nearly 18 years. I’m a certified economic developer for about 14 years. I’ve been in Weatherford 12 years. I’m from far west Texas, and Weatherford and the metroplex is an awesome place to be and do business.
Jim Kelley: Well, tell us a little bit about what’s going on from your team there at Weatherford from the city council to the economic push, and tell us a little bit about how you operate there in Weatherford.
Dennis Clayton: Yeah. I’m actually in the city department. We have a non-profit economic development corporation also. Our economic development board is made up of city council members. We have a electric utility board which is funding and is part of that board. The college president, the school district superintendent, the chamber president and the hospital district tax entity are board members of our board. It’s a city department. They operate just as an economic development board and help us do our program through our staffing level. We also manage an industrial park board which is a non-profit foundation for our industrial park in the area, too, so a pretty common operation arrangement and very engaged with the players in the community. We’re really pleased and appreciate that.
Jim Kelley: Talk to us a few minutes about the vision and the mission of not only the economic development department, Dennis, but also the city.
Dennis Clayton: Well, several things. Obviously, Weatherford is growing as the Metroplex is. We do tag ourselves as the western gateway business center to the DFW Metroplex. Also, a newer one is the new regional retail center of the Metroplex. You’ll see that as we talk about some of the things that are happening – a big boom in retail over the last 10 years just because of the population growth, school districts, the jobs that are out there. We’re part of that Metroplex. We are a demographic and economic component of the DFW MSA. When you get statistics on the whole Metroplex, we’re a part of that and our growth is part of that. Our growth is tied directly to the growth of the Metroplex to the west and that last frontier of available space, good place to live and great school districts.
Jim Kelley: Dennis, give us a snapshot of what some of the demographics of the city of Weatherford in terms of size and average household income. Can you give us some of those?
Dennis Clayton: Yeah. The city population is up to over 28,000. Parker County population is up to over 126,000. That grows about 3% a year up and down over the last 15 years, and that’s going to continue and increase. The projections for Parker County are a little overwhelming in the next 30 to 40 years. We are historically a rural western heritage community but we are very urbanized now. There are several school districts and small communities around us. We’re obviously the county seat and largest city. One thing I point out is that a lot of people assume that maybe we’re an older retiring community. The Baby Boomers are retiring everywhere and we get that, but if you look at our growth and our median age, our median age stays down at the same level as the Metroplex. We’re not an aging community. That’s because of the growth and new population. That’s very good. The new businesses and again the school district and people moving out here for places to live, the good school districts…Our western heritage is a big player for us, but we are really becoming urbanized. As we hear in the last few years about the Millennials going more urbanized, we’re going to be continuing to be part of that.
For the entire conversation with Dennis Clayton, download the podcast on our website or visit us on iTunes.
Learn more about Jim Kelley and contact him, here.