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Hico, Texas, is a small community with big dreams. It is embarking on an initiative aimed at expanding the local economy through tourism, small business development and associated services.

The Hico Economic Development Corp. has called on economic development experts from the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) to assist in creating the community’s first Economic Development Strategic Plan.

The first step is a baseline conditions and community assessment report that will examine demographics, community assets, infrastructure, financial vitality, and the industrial profile of the community, said Sue Ann Palmore of TEEX. Facilitators from TEEX will then lead one or more community planning workshops to capture the insights and perceptions of Hico residents about the community’s assets and challenges, as well as to help them identify and prioritize projects to achieve their vision.

Mike James, Executive Director of the Hico Economic Development Corp., recently completed a Basic Economic Development Course hosted by TEEX, and shared the information he gleaned with the other EDC board members.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to work with such a dynamic organization as TEEX to create the economic development plan for Hico,” James said. “They bring a fresh, unbiased and creative approach to the community for addressing our strengths, weaknesses and future development.”

In addition to working with the EDC to develop a Strategic Plan, TEEX will assist the community by identifying and connecting it to potential funding sources, including state and federal resources to help with implementing the plan.

TEEX is a member of The Texas A&M University System and has experience assisting rural communities in Texas with training in leadership and economic development, community assessments and strategic plans for economic growth, including Jacksboro, Prairie View, Bridgeport and Bastrop. Half of the cost of the project will be covered by TEEX through a TARGET grant, which provides technical assistance for regional growth in economic development.

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