Corsicana's growth increased throughout 2019, with no signs of slowing down in the new year. Several new businesses were added and industry continues to expand citywide.
Some of this year's most anticipated business additions include a Starbucks, which began construction in September, and the redesigned Waffle House, which opened in its new location in October at 2952 Hwy. 287.
Here's a look at some of what Corsicana's Main Street Program, Chamber of Commerce, Planning and Zoning and Economic Development Departments have accomplished this year.
Corsicana's Main Street Program was developed to assist with the revitalization of the downtown area through the use of historic preservation and economic development strategies.
The city welcomed new Main Street Director, Lauren Bedsole, in October. Since then, she has been working with business owners to keep up the momentum and increase visitors to the city's historic downtown.
“Being able to acquire an additional building downtown has allowed us to expand our business and create six new jobs for local workers,” said Greg Price of Chuck’s Paint & Body.
“They took the abandoned 8,000 sq. ft. building across the street, 417 N. Beaton St., and revitalized it to expand their business,” Bedsole stated. “It basically doubled their capacity and enabled them to create half a dozen new jobs. They’ve also refaced the original location at 416 N. Beaton St.”
Across the Street Diner & Bistro reported that over the past month, the diner has been searched for 27,000 times online, with 41,000 page views.
“The bistro has been searched for 57,000 times, with 80,000 total page views,” Bedsole stated. “That’s more than the population of the entire county!”
Kellie Cope of Cactus Stitches shared that sales were up 27% from September through the end of December, compared to the same period in 2018.
“It’s been fantastic. It’s been very good.” said Shelley Jennings of GLAMtime, who moved into the old Artistic Edge building this fall and plans to begin a renovation of the salon's new space this month.
“Our fourth-quarter sales were awesome,” said Reese Hines of Timbers. “We have been downtown now for three years, and it continues to grow."
Copy Center's Chuck Miller reported a steady increase in visitors to downtown Corsicana.
“I’ve seen more traffic downtown in the last couple of years than I have in the past 20,” Miller said. “You can tell things are happening.”
According to Bedsole, the building's owner is currently undertaking a huge renovation to restore the building to its original look.
“I love that I’m part of the downtown district,” said Diane Huston of Pack N Mail. “I strongly support shopping local, and I think everybody should.”
“We’re hoping to continue to grow and work with our neighbors,” she said.
Huston bought the business in March and re-opened Pack N Mail on April 1.
“We are excited about going into our second year in downtown Corsicana in 2020,” stated the team at Old Lumberyard Food & Finds.
“In 2019 we had continued sales growth and the opportunity to expand our shop. We have big plans in store and look forward to seeing you. Thank you Navarro County for an awesome year.”
“This is the best Christmas I’ve ever had,” said Sheila Moore of Prayers From Heaven. “I doubled my sales this year. It was booming.”
Moore has been downtown for seven years and said she hopes to expand her business in the coming years.
The Corsicana & Navarro County Chamber of Commerce hosted 26 ribbon cuttings in 2019, along with countless other events for local businesses and residents.
In January, the Chamber welcomed the Law Office of Shana Stein Faulhaber and Lance Watkins Agency – Allstate. February saw Maui Tan & Style join the Chamber, followed by Prom Princess Ministries in March. Courtney Neiman of Premier Realty, Apollo Pharmacy, The Taco Station Restaurant, AdvantaClean, and Pack N Mail hosted ribbon cuttings in April.
May saw the most ribbon cuttings of the year, with PR Equipment, WoodmenLife, Epic Nursing & Rehabilitation, Corsicana Event Center, Ellinya Italian Restaurant, LegalShield – Jackson Enterprises, Independent Associates, and Advance America. Ms. Arlene's Kountry Kitchen, Goin' Postal Corsicana, and Blue Star Tires joined in June, followed by Superior Care Funeral Services in July.
Sarah Mae Fabrics' ribbon cutting was held in September, with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Thrift R Us, and Navarro County District Attorney's Office cutting the ribbon in October. The year ended with TLC Clean Up & Repair, LLC and Bulldog Health Center staffed by Medical Associates of Navarro County in November, and C&J Farms in December.
The City of Corsicana's Planning and Zoning Department issued a total of 65 certificates of occupancy last year, with 12 businesses occupying space downtown and 53 throughout the city.
This year's number marks a dramatic increase from 2018, which saw 39 certificates issued, but a decrease from 2017 which ended with 82.
The Economic Development Department is dedicated to promoting Corsicana and Navarro County to business and property owners, developers, and Realtors. In February, the City Council approved the creation of a new Tax Increment Financing District, dubbed TIF No. 2, at 45th Street and Hwy. 31.
The new TIF district will add new commercial developments along with multi-family and single family residences.
The district's development plan calls for 16 lots of commercial development with an estimated value of $23,800,000; 26 multi-family units with an estimated value of $40,500,000; 81 duplex units with an estimated value of $21,060,000 and 101 single-family units with an estimated value of $24,240,000.
“When fully developed, the TIF will add over $109 million in new tax value in Corsicana,” stated John Boswell, Director of Economic Development.
Boswell reports that Corsicana's City Council, Navarro County Commissioners Court and the Navarro College Board of Trustees approved two tax abatements for expansions at Pactiv.
Combined, the two projects will add over $44 million in new capital investment in real and personal property.
“Pactiv applied for two separate tax abatements for two separate projects,” Boswell stated.
“The first project is the addition of $19 million in new taxable personal property. The second project includes $8 million in real property improvements and $17 million in personal property for a total of $25 million in new taxable value.”
Navarro County Commissioners and Navarro College Board of Trustees also approved a new tax abatement for Clean Vision Solar last year. The Clean Vision Solar project, located west of Corsicana near NW County Road 2060, will add $120 million in new capital investment.
According to the agreement, the company is scheduled to begin construction in mid-2020, with commercial operation projected to start in 2022.
According to Boswell, a Kubota dealership, Cedar Springs Apartments, and a QuikTrip are planned for next year.
Corsicana's progress has showed no signs of slowing down, with another exciting announcement planned for Tuesday's Economic Partnership Group meeting at 9 a.m. in the Nancy Roberts Meeting Room of the Corsicana Public Library.