We have visited the last two months about some of the roles of the Celina Economic Development Corporation and what it means to spend your dollars in the community and the different healthcare services that are available in Celina, and the important reasons to support them.
I recently was asked, what is the CEDC? When was it started? It may take a couple of columns but I want to give you the citizens a glimpse into the history of the Celina Economic Development Corporation, its beginning, how was it created, why it was created, what does it do? It is important to know where and how we started, to figure out where we are today and the goals for tomorrow.
The Texas Legislature passed into law the Development Corporation Act of 1979. This Act gave cities like Celina the ability to finance new and expanded business enterprises in their local community through economic development corporations (EDC’s). The chapters in the Code outline the characteristics of Type A and Type B EDC’s and authorize cities to adopt sales tax to fund the corporations and define the projects EDC’s are allowed to undertake.
In 1995, a group of Business owners, Council members, and School officials came together in Celina with a common purpose and vision to ask the citizens to approve a proposition on the May ballot that year creating the Celina Economic Development Corporation. On May 6, 1995 it was approved receiving 66.6% of the votes cast. On July 11, 1995, Resolution 95-12 was unanimously passed by the Celina City Council authorizing the creation of the Articles of Incorporation and the levy of an additional ½ of 1% sales and use tax for the purposes authorized by Section 4A of the Development Corporation Act of 1979. These Articles of Incorporation creating the Celina Economic Development Corporation for the purpose but not limited to the promotion and development of new and expanded business enterprises was signed on July 27, 1995. The initial Board was comprised of 7 board members. The makeup of the Board was representative of the very Business leaders, Councilmen, and Celina Independent School District Administration that had the vision for Celina.
I had the privilege in writing this column to visit with three of the original Board Members and leaders in establishing the Celina Economic Development Corporation. Even after 17 years, the focus of each of them was clear and simple. It was a vision of quality of life, parks for children and families, infrastructure for growth, and organizing for the future goals and aspirations of the community. It was creating a separate cash flow away from general revenue that would take pressure off the City budget requirements for financing qualified projects… Let me give a shout out to Leigh Glendenning Roberts, Bob McKnight, and Rooke Everill. Looking at the minutes of the Corporation in the formative years, their names appear in most discussions about the goals for the organization. As we explore more early history, we will see their vision in the planning process that the City undertook in the decade of 2000-2010.
In November of 1996, the Celina Economic Development Corporation Board amended the Articles of Incorporation to reflect a 5 member Board, which follows State statutes today. As the new Board developed strategy, it was clear that the 4A Corporation did not allow for an important part of their vision to help create Parks and Recreation Facilities. This aspect was not covered in the original 4A Charter for business expansion. In May 1998 the voters of Celina were asked to expand the 4A Corporation to include 4B projects. The Proposition was approved by the voters by an 84.4% margin. Now the Celina Economic Development Corporation had the ability to develop Industry through infrastructure support, and manufacturing through job creation incentives, along with cultivating the community by funding projects such as parks, museums, and sports facilities. The Parks and Museum focus would unfold to be the first financial efforts by the Celina Economic Development Corporation Board.
At this point in the history of the birth and baby steps of the Celina Economic Development Corporation, we should reflect on the coordinated effort to make it possible to develop Celina. The same Council members who chartered the 4A Corporation passed ordinances that required park fees on residential permits. There was a renewed examination of sub division ordinances. These issues were encountered on the Holigan Estates on Preston sub division in the areas of drainage, infrastructure, and quality of construction. The City Council and the P & Z Commission lead by leaders who were instrumental in creating the CEDC began tightening up building standards.
All of these efforts were important steps in executing a vision by a diverse group of citizens who wanted to make Celina an even better place to live. The point is that a lot of folks committed time and hard work and paved the way for us to live in the best community in Texas. Now we know how we started and the purpose of the EDC, Next month we will look at the Celina Economic Development Corporation Board’s work setting priorities that lead to the first comprehensive land use plan, the vision and funding contribution to build “The Old Celina Park”, and the beginning of participation in business expansion in Celina.