Duncanville Misses Economic Development Opportunity

Filed under: City |

The Dallas Morning News is reporting that Wal-Mart has requested a zoning change with the City of Dallas to build a Supercenter near the intersection of Wheatland Road and Clark Road.

The land in question is undeveloped and located west of Clark Road and north of Wheatland Road, somewhere between the McDonalds and Kennemer Middle School.

According to the article, the request is to build a store “greater than 100,000 square-feet”, and includes plans for landscaping screens and the parking ratio.

The article does point out that in Duncanville, Tom Thumb, Cox Farm Markets, and Aldi operate stores near that intersection. In addition, there are Wal-Marts in Dallas on Wheatland Road, south in Cedar Hill, and southeast in DeSoto.

What is of great concern is the economic impact a Wal-Mart in the area could have on those businesses in Duncanville. Now is time when the Duncanville Community and Economic Development Corporation (DCEDC) should be attempting to lure Wal-Mart back within the city limits to shore up the sales tax dollars for the city.

But, the current council has taken no action to hire an Economic Development Director since Earle Jones’ contract was not renewed by the council in the summer of 2011. The Duncanville City Council now has on the agenda to vacate the DCEDC (4B Board) for the second time in less than a year.

While the DCEDC is carrying on business as best they can, without a director to seek out, and work with businesses such as Wal-Mart, the city will continue to lose these businesses, and their associated sales tax, to our surrounding communities.

How could a site within Duncanville be more appealing? Simply put, historically grocery stores have not done well on that corridor.

Originally, Minyard’s Food Stores/Sack-N-Save was in Duncanville at the intersection of Danieldale and Clark Roads. When business declined, the store sold to a private grocer who saw the same dismal sales. That storefront burned down and never rebuilt, and the land remains vacant today.

In Dallas, at the same intersection, Albertsons operated for several years, but finally closed again due to a lack of support from the area.

Finally, due to the geographical distance from the major parts of Dallas, the Dallas Police Department does not keep up a large police presence in that area. Until recently, the Dallas Fire Department did not maintain EMS services and Duncanville provided ambulance service for them. This should cause concern for Wal-Mart as public safety services are a necessity for a business that large.

Duncanville does have land and standing buildings to offer, but the City needs someone to spearhead the effort to lure Wal-Mart, and other businesses to Duncanville. The original Wal-Mart remains vacant at Cockrell Hill Road and Highway 67. Other locations could be pitched, but the council has not taken the steps to secure leadership for the DCEDC and to work to bring new businesses to Duncanville. And, apparently some on the council want to be rid of those on the board and appoint directors to serve until the time for regular appointments.

When Jones was unceremoniously released in the summer of 2011, he had brought in over $110,000,000 in projects in ten years. Projects such Main Station, Duncanville Hilton Garden Inn, Pappadeaux’s, Costco, Quick Trip, Shops at Waterview Park and W&B Service Company.

Some on the council at that time said that they wanted to see Duncanville go in a new direction. Who knew then that it meant no direction at all and a year later Duncanville Economic Development would still be rudderless.

Until the council can establish leadership for the DCEDC in the form of a knowledgeable and experienced director, Duncanville will continue to see sales tax dollars go elsewhere.