13 Dec FORNEY IS ON THE GROW BY DEBORAH DOVE

THERE’S A LOT HAPPENING IN FORNEY!  New businesses, new homes and apartment construction, road expansions, and even a new park are on tap for the coming year. Housing growth continues to boom, driven largely by Forney’s exemplary school district, the city’s close proximity to Dallas, and the low cost of homes compared to other Dallas area suburbs. Retail follows rooftops, and the area welcomes several new businesses, including Pristine Car Wash, Christian Brothers Automotive, Jersey Mike’s Subs, and Eno’s Pizza Tavern—a Bishop Arts District restaurant that started the craft beer movement. Eno’s has chosen Forney as the place to open its second location and will offer artisan pizza, craft beer, and live music. Forney EDC Development Specialist Stewart McGregor hopes it will bring more nightlife to the area and attract other unique businesses downtown.

Holiday Inn Express will be opening soon, and land has been purchased for a Hampton Inn, which is already in the planning stages. McGregor says the hotel occupancy tax will bring revenue to the city and fund events that provide quality of life to the citizens of Forney, such as the Barbecue Cookoff, Fourth of July fireworks, movies and music in the park, the Trail of Treats at Halloween, and Christmas on Main.

The new year will also bring two new strip centers.  The Shoppes at Forney Crossing, located at Broad and 548, will be comprised of typical neighborhood retail.  Ridgecrest Corners, located at Ridgecrest and 548, will also be a neighborhood strip center, but the new Montessori school behind the shopping center is hoping to partner with retail tenants that will provide kid and group-centered activities. Two thousand and eighteen will also bring residential growth, including a thousand new homes on the south side of town, and Gateway Pines, a new apartment  complex.

Racetrack will begin construction at 548 and 1641, and will be the first business on the 23-acre property. Bush’s Chicken will also open in January at 548 and 741 near the high school.

The Parks department has coordinated the opening of a covered outdoor ice-skating rink at Community Park; it will have a real ice surface, and will be open to the public through the end of the year.  The city has also purchased sixteen acres of land owned for years by the Pinson family that will become a family-oriented city park that preserves the history and heritage of the property and farm.  The park, which will be named “The Pinson Farm Heritage Park,” will include picnic areas, playground equipment, biking and walking trails, sports and recreational fields, and tennis courts.

Of course, with growth comes congested traffic, especially on the north end which is growing more rapidly, so the Texas Department of Transportation will be adding lanes on 548 north of 80 to 205.  That’s a good thing, since the city is expected to grow from its current population of 49,000 to over 70,000 by 2022.

Looking forward, the City of Forney is focusing on growing the city’s daytime population, which is currently very low. “We’re trying to turn that tide,” says McGregor.  “Every day we are working on attracting quality employers, both blue and white collar, such as office and professional services, high tech businesses, clean manufacturers, and increased medical services.”  That daytime population—people who stay and work in Forney during the day—drives the retail and restaurant businesses.  McGregor also urges Forney residents to keep shopping in Forney. “What’s spent here impacts the city’s infrastructure and development,” he says.