Collin County is booming. Those of us who live here and do business here see it firsthand as we watch the massive influx of top-notch retailers, service businesses, home builders and professionals into Plano, Frisco, McKinney and so many other great cities.
But with growth comes growing pains. As the Dallas Morning News’ Brandon Formby reported in its May 24 story, ensuring Collin County has the transportation infrastructure to support rapid, substantial growth is a concern. Similarly, Formby pointed to the pressing need for additional quality schools in these high-growth cities, quoting Frisco Mayor Maher Maso as saying: “The secret isn’t in chasing numbers, but in providing ‘the quality of services and education’ that people want…Seventeen years ago, we had five schools…Today, we have 61.”
We agree – we need to plan for and shape our vibrant county. Our local governments can’t do it alone. We, the Collin County Business Alliance (CCBA), made up of business and community leaders across the county, are joining forces. We must collaborate and find innovative solutions to ensure our county has the necessary tools to continue our strong growth.
According to census data, Collin County’s population increased by 75 percent between 2000 and 2013. During that time, Frisco grew by 179 percent and McKinney by 173 percent. And, Allen, Wylie, Murphy, Anna, Prosper and other smaller communities in Collin County accounted for more than 40 percent of the population increase since 2000. Projections by the Office of the State Demographer indicate Collin County’s growth will continue, reaching nearly 2 million by 2050.
This explosive growth impacts our education system. While many Collin County schools are considered among the best in Texas, maintaining and improving will prove challenging; in fact, almost 30 percent of our high school graduates are not “college-ready” according to Texas Education Agency reports.
Population growth leads to congested roadways – TXDoT lists four of Collin County’s main thoroughfares as among the most congested roadways in Texas. Our county’s water needs are also a concern. The North Texas Municipal Water District reports that over the next 50 years, Collin County’s water supplies will need to increase by an amount equal to our current Lavon Lake resources every 10 years to meet increasing demands.
These eye-opening statistics are what led us to form the CCBA; we realize that without proactively thinking through and partnering with local governments to plan for educational, transportation and water challenges that arise from incredible growth, we risk the future success of our county and region.
We take that responsibility so seriously, that on Friday, June 26, we’re hosting our annual CCBA Mayoral Summit from 10am – 1:30pm at the Capital One Conference Center to hear how Collin County mayors are proposing we, the business community, tackle these issues on a regional level.
Six mayors from the largest cities in Collin County –Allen, Frisco, McKinney, Plano, Richardson and Wylie – along with renown public-private partnerships author of The Solution Revolution, William Eggers, will address their viewpoints to help solve these top issues. Local governments are doing their best to ensure their cities are meeting the needs of residents and employers; however, this requires a collaborative, regional approach to maintain our high quality of life and vibrant business community. The summit is an opportunity for the public to actively engage with government, business and community leaders through roundtable discussions.
Join us on June 26 for this exciting and necessary discussion to find solutions, including areas where public and private partnerships can come together. We don’t just want citizens to be part of the summit, we need citizens’ voices to be heard and to act as the catalyst for moving Collin County successfully into the future.
For more information, visit: http://collincountybusinessalliance.com/collin-county-mayoral-summit/
Chairman, Board of Directors, Collin County Business Alliance
President, Capital One Financial Services