This Tarrant city is ready to spend money to help businesses look better

Saginaw wants to help businesses thrive.

The city launched an incentive program last month allowing businesses to apply for money to improve the appearance of their buildings and property.

The city council allocated $15,000 for the project, and the goal is to get businesses to participate so that more money will be available in the future, said Alora Wachholz, the city’s economic development director.

“I feel strongly that economic development is not just about recruitment but it is also about retention, and that businesses have the tools they need to succeed,” Wachholz said.

The grants can be used for improvements such as outdoor benches, public trash cans, landscaping and signage, she said. Matching funds are also available for public art projects.

The city wants to improve commercial corridors and industrial areas, which are sometimes overlooked, she said.

Like the rest of Tarrant County, Saginaw is growing fast. The population has increased from 5,000 in 1990 to 23,014.

City leaders emphasized economic development in the past year, Mayor Todd Flippo said.

“We thought about our businesses. Let’s reward them for staying in Saginaw and reward them for being good corporate citizens,” he said.

Saginaw is known for its grain elevators, and the city is working with companies to paint a mural of a Texas flag on one elevator and to put a light display on another, Wachholz said.

A $370,000 food truck court is under construction north of the corner at Knowles Drive and Longhorn Road, in Willow Creek Park, which might also be home to a farmer’s market. The food truck court is expected to open this summer.

“There is a lot of excitement right now to build Saginaw up and to make some changes. Saginaw has a lot of surprises in its pocket,” Wachholz said.

The Sarah Hollenstein Career & Tech Center, part of the Eagle Mountain Saginaw ISD, is receiving statewide recognition from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers for excellence in manufacturing education.

With my guide dog Barbara, I keep tabs on growth, economic development and other issues in Northeast Tarrant cities and other communities near Fort Worth. I’ve been a reporter at the Star-Telegram for 34 years.