Wednesday, 18 January 2012 by David Tuma
It was a huge year for the Belton Economic Development Corporation.
They spent the year working on purchasing property for the new offices and the design of the building that will be next to the Belton Area Chamber of Commerce.
That project took a back seat when CGI began to start looking at trying to find a facility in the area.
Belton landed the company in 2011 and will eventually bring 400 new jobs and it is estimated to have a $61 million impact in the first five years of operation.
"It was very labor intensive trying to land CGI because they were looking at other communities in the area," said BEDC Executive Director Cynthia Hernandez. "Our board of directors did a fantastic job in making this happen. They were creative and got help from Workforce, Belton Chamber, BISD, City of Belton, UMHB and Bell County. Currently, CGI is designing a permanent building that hopefully will open in 2012."
BEDC President Chris Moore said the partnership with CGI will benefit all parties involved.
"CGI is a great fit for Belton," Moore said. "Our community's quality of life, skilled and diverse workforce and central location has put is in a great position to be a long-term partner with CGI. The BEDC believes that CGI's move to Belton will prove to be a catalyst for economic development activity in our community."
The BEDC also holds quarterly meetings with industries located in the Belton Business Parks.
The meetings are more of a round table affair with a speaker provided.
Ana Borchardt, Director of Business Development and Retention for the BEDC is in charge of making these meetings a reality.
"Building relationships with our current industries and businesses is as important as new industry development," Hernandez said.
Another development during the past year was High Performance Ropes of America's 20,000 square-foot expansion. The company purchased a spec building 24 years ago and makes cables for cranes and elevators.
Arbor Drive was expanded through the Belton Business Park opening up further areas for development.
Property was sold to Clear Water Underground Water District with a building under construction.
One of the key things BEDC does is connect small businesses with the resources they may use in expansion. The Small Business Development Center office in Waco assists small businesses with development.
BEDC of Belton also sent a representative along with a delegation to California for business recruitment purposes.
"There is a lot of creativity in California," Hernandez said. "Once they get established some of those businesses try to relocate to a pro-business area of the country.
"What helps us in attracting industry or businesses to the area is that our community leaders are visionaries in all areas. Ten years ago they developed the business park that we used to attract CGI. It is more than just BEDC, we work with UMHB, BISD, City of Belton and Workforce to attract industry. The Belton Tomorrow Plan isn't attracting dust sitting on a shelf. We meet regularly once a month."