PEARLAND 20/20: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY


In 2012, the Pearland Economic Development Corporation (PEDC), along with local partners in government, education, healthcare and business embarked upon a long-term strategic community and economic development planning process to create a shared vision for the community’s future growth and an action plan to achieve it.

The initiative began with the Competitive Assessment phase, a series of focus groups and interviews with over 80 local business, government, education and civic leaders. Businesses and residents throughout Pearland had an opportunity to provide feedback about the issues and opportunities facing the community by participating in an online survey.

The Pearland 20/20 Community Strategic Plan is the result of months of research, public input, and feedback and oversight from the project Steering Committee. Throughout the process, Committee members, including representatives from the City Council, PEDC Board of Directors, Chamber of Commerce, school districts, City staff, and other key civic and business leaders, reviewed drafts and revised versions of the Strategy and made multiple comments that were incorporated into the Strategic Plan. 

The resulting Pearland 20/20 Plan contains nine strategies that are designed to take Pearland to the next level of success both as an economy and sustainable residential location. Each strategy is comprised of a variety of sub-actions that details steps and tactics necessary to further the strategic goal.  In mid-2013, the strategic plan was approved unanimously by the project Steering Committee, PEDC’s Board of Directors and City Council.

In early 2015, PEDC and the Pearland 20/20 Implementation Steering Committee began working on a Mid-Course Update to the plan.  This update assessed the implementation thus far to get a big-picture sense of key successes and challenges, as well as looked forward towards the final two and a half years of the plan’s implementation. 

As part of this process, an Implementation Assessment was conducted, which included a facilitated group discussion with the Steering Committee, a series of focus groups on specific initiatives, interviews with local business, government, education and civic leaders and a targeted online survey. 

The revised Pearland 20/20 Community Strategic plan was approved unanimously by the project Steering Committee, PEDC’s Board of Directors and City Council in late 2015.

The nine key strategies outlined in the revised Strategic Plan are:

1. Design and implement an enhanced economic development marketing program.
Pearland must maintain a focus on core competencies such as working with developers and commercial brokers, incentivizing high-quality job growth, maintaining a steady intensity of retail development, and ensuring that key parcels and sites in Pearland are “shovel ready” and primed for outside investment.  The community must also enhance efforts to attract key segments of the health care and energy sectors to Pearland.

2. Implement multiple, high-impact mobility projects.
Development and enhancement of high-impact road projects must continue, with priority placed on improvements to SH 288, FM 518/Broadway, other state roads, such as SH 35, south of Broadway.  Pearland should pursue alternative strategies for the development of a park-and-ride facility and continue to work to incorporate City mobility priorities into state and federally funded planning and development processes. The city must also communicate to residents and businesses the projects being constructed or under development and the full breadth of east-west and north-south mobility options in Pearland.

3. Optimize the development potential of Pearland’s principal commercial corridors and character districts.
Pearland must position its major corridors (SH 288, FM 518/Broadway, and SH 35), to support catalytic development. While pockets of quality development have occurred, the overall look and feel of these corridors is being held back by areas that do not reflect community standards.  Pearland must also focus attention on redevelopment issues and opportunities as infrastructure ages in original subdivisions and commercial nodes.

4. Make Pearland a more competitive recreation and cultural destination for residents and visitors.
Pearland must effectively implement the 2015 Parks and Recreation master plan and ensure capital investment in funded park, recreation and trail capacity continues as scheduled.  Partnerships should be developed with non-profit arts and culture organizations to advance initiatives and projects with a potentially beneficial impact on Pearland’s arts and cultural sector.

5. Improve Pearland’s aesthetics through strategic community beautification and gateway efforts.
Pearland must develop and implement a comprehensive beautification strategy, including the construction of visually appealing gateway features at key entry points.  In addition, Pearland must expand city-wide clean-up efforts and continue working to implement and enhance programs to address distressed properties and code violations.

6. Implement plans to develop the Lower Kirby Urban Center (LKUC) as Pearland’s most intensive mixed-use employment, residential, and entertainment district.
A master plan and implementation strategy has been developed for the LKUC and a form-based code has been designed and approved - the city, PEDC, and its partners must continue to implement the recommendations of this master plan in order to transform this site into Pearland’s signature urban district.  Aggressive marketing of the district is necessary, along with formalizing a consistent identity and developing quality of life amenities for the LKUC.

7. Construct a multi-use events center in Pearland.
There is near-universal agreement that Pearland needs some type of major facility to accommodate large groups of people. A best-in-class multi-use events center is necessary to make the city more competitive for employers and residents. Pearland must work to build consensus, create a master plan and pursue funding, construction and programming for the events center.

8. Advance local education and workforce development pipelines in Pearland.
In order for Pearland to maintain its competitive labor advantage and ensure that future generations of local students are prepared for jobs that are available locally, education and workforce providers must continually reassess systematic skills-development issues, improve partnerships, and develop programs necessary to respond to labor force skills deficits and employer needs. As the city continues to grow and diversify, its primary focus must remain on optimizing education systems, aligning training programs with the realities of today’s workplace and best positioning students for college and careers.

9. Develop an internal marketing campaign to increase awareness and promotion of Pearland and its assets.
An internal marketing campaign is needed in order to develop a stronger identity and sense of pride among Pearlanders for their city, its assets and its future.  In addition, a public dialogue on the sustainability of residential development in the city is needed.

The mid-course update has not resulted in a “new” strategy, but rather a fine tuning of the existing nine strategic goals areas that comprise Pearland 20/20 to reflect the experience of implementation to date as well as the city’s current competitive realities and opportunities.