Theme 1: Quality of Place Preservation

Preserving the quality of place in Central Texas includes many facets of the region’s surroundings. The low cost of living, excellent transportation routes, natural resources, recreation, and access to quality healthcare systems are some of Central Texan’s greatest treasures. Whereas leisure & entertainment venues are limited and improving our transit system and keeping the agricultural community in place is a necessity. Likewise, uncontrolled population growth threatens communities when infrastructure is not in place, such as adequate roadway systems and water/wastewater systems. The protection, preservation and improvement of these areas will ensure that quality of place in Central Texas remains far above the standard while instilling in us, inner peace and pride for communities.

Theme 2: Telecommunications Infrastructure and Readiness

Population growth, education, transportation, healthcare, business retention, etc. are all affected by the ability to function in a high-tech world. Without the scalable infrastructure in place, growth will not thrive and communities will lose the ability to keep their populations from shrinking. The local, state, and federal authorities agree to put policies in place to ensure every area of the nation has access to high speed internet. The CTCOG region currently has digital infrastructure readiness and is working towards high speed telecommunications region-wide.

Theme 3: Military Influence

Base Realignment can be a positive scenario by enriching economic growth with the expansion of the military. But planning must be in place for any reduction that could be made in the future. Fort Hood is now the largest active duty armored post in the U.S. Armed Forces. There are nearly 40,000 Soldiers who work on Fort Hood not including civilian staff and their families. The Soldiers of Fort Hood are infantrymen, cavalrymen, and tankers. They are engineers, mechanics and health care professionals. They are male and female and are the life of Fort Hood. Their training gives Fort Hood its purpose, just as Camp Hood troops did back in 1942. [5] Therefore, close attention to federal policies and legislative restrictions are necessary to guard against any negative actions that may affect the troops. When soldiers return to civilian life, Central Texas offers them a great opportunity to transition from the military back into the work place. Fort Hood’s benefit to the community and economy includes the soldiers’ families as they rent and buy houses, shop area market places, dine, and work throughout our region, boosting the economy further. The soldiers and their families are all a part of what has made Fort Hood “The Great Place” for more than seven decades.

Theme 4: Education and Workforce

The vitality of the Central Texas region is predicated upon the skills and productivity of its workforce. Continued growth in the region requires an expansion of employment opportunities. Central Texas enjoy freedom of choice with the accessibility to higher education. The region is gifted with a skilled and talented population and there is
great opportunity in talent retention programs to be in place. With military transitional programs already in place, the highly skilled Fort Hood soldiers are a great asset to Central Texas. Population and job growth are vibrant in the larger cities; however, higher paying jobs are limited. Some of the rural counties experience slow growth and
educational disparities. Education should be paramount and consistent with community needs. Partnership programs from colleges and universities with area high schools and trade schools are in place and essential, not only for instructional purposes, but in meeting the vision and needs of the community. Restrictive federal policies have limited public school funding and it is necessary push for needed public school funding through our state and federal legislatures. Similarly, Community Colleges will struggle to provide needed services to employers and job seekers without consistent and adequate state funding.

Theme 5: Economic Resilience

Establishing economic resilience in a local or regional economy requires the ability to anticipate risk, evaluate how that risk can impact key economic assets, and build a responsive capacity. Having the Unified Development Code in place would enable areas of economic growth to happen quickly and in a seamless fashion. Strengths of the region are enhanced due to the central location and the expansion of Interstate Highways and other highway systems. Opportunities abound with the alternative energy sources, developable land, and business retention investments at the local level. However, the threats and weaknesses of limited water/wastewater distribution and other resource constraints is the red flag to make changes for a positive effect on the future of Central Texas. Special attention should be made to federal and state policies to repair the disconnect between the governmental authorities. The Central Texas region overall is growing at a healthy pace, and it is incumbent on those shaping its development to guide it in a sustainable, efficient, and distinct direction.

Action Plan

The Development District of Central Texas is fortunate to have stakeholders who are committed to their communities and desire to contribute to the implementation of this CEDS. The DDCT Board of Directors is comprised of a group of stakeholders from throughout the region’s local governments to ensure that the diverse perspectives and interests in the region are reflected, as well as to give the DDCT efficacy in implementing the CEDS. The Action Plan will be utilized as a tool for the Development District of Central Texas. The CEDS will guide the District with tools provided by the Strategic Direction and Action Plan as identified by the DDCT Board of Directors. Below, the Board identified the actions necessary to reach the Strategic Direction. As such, at the end of the calendar year, the District’s performance will be evaluated by the Board of Directors. The methodology in place will determine the effectiveness of the performance measure (PM) and whether the set targets were achieved. 

 I. Conduct grant search for funding that might enhance the access to natural resources and healthcare accessibility. Communicate funding opportunities to CTCOG members.

 II. Pursue support for increased regional broadband service in households through education, task forces, and outreach to elected officials. 

III. Partner with workforce, communities and others to build awareness of the military skills available for employers to assist in retaining solders in the region. 

IV. Continuation of the regional Leadership classes offered each year incorporating improvements as appropriate.

V. Build communication systems whereby students and teachers in public schools will know what the
expectations will be when entering college, such as organizing mentorship programs, Round table
discussions, etc.

VI. The DDCT will meet in conjunction with the Homeland Security Division of CTCOG to discuss the
Hazard Mitigation Plan and find ways to provide community assistance and become familiar with
how the Mitigation Plan will work.

VII. Explore the need for GIS systems that link with municipal or economic development organizations
and other business establishment databases to track development sites in areas of the region that
are lacking in that resource.

VIII. Participate in the establishment of coordinated leadership plan for disaster recovery to include a
plan for short, intermediate, or long-term recovery needs.

IX. A Rural Business Retention and Expansion Task Force is set in place to explore ways to expand and/or
retain businesses in the region.