PEARLAND PROSPERITY STRATEGIC PLAN
In 2019, the Pearland Economic Development Corporation (PEDC), along with local partners in government, education, healthcare and business embarked on a collaborative community and economic development strategic planning process that will make the community a more prosperous, successful, and vibrant place to live, work, and do business. This plan builds upon the Pearland 20/20 strategy, which the community developed through a similar process in 2013 and has helped catalyze numerous community improvements in recent years.
The initiative began with the Community Engagement phase, which included 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. This feedback was combined with quantitative data findings to create a Community Assessment – a concise narrative of the region’s opportunities and challenges to lay the groundwork for future phases of the process.
The next phase of the process was an Implementation Assessment of the Pearland 20/20 strategic plan to allow the community and steering committee to gain a firm understanding of areas where goals have been met, areas where progress has yet to be achieved, and any barriers that have impeded effective implementation.
The final phase, the Pearland Prosperity 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.
At the center of the Pearland Prosperity framework are two Community Goals that broadly identify the desired outcomes of Pearland’s holistic economic development effort. These Goals are:
- Economic growth and diversification: Provide opportunities for residents to prosper and enhance Pearland’s fiscal sustainability through a holistic approach to economic development
- A community of choice in Greater Houston: Ensure Pearland’s quality of life and quality of place continue to attract and retain diverse individuals and families
These goals can be pursued through a number of Strategic Initiatives grouped into seven high-level Focus Areas. Each Initiative corresponds to an action, program, effort, or investment that can help move Pearland toward its desired future. The Focus Areas provide organizational clarity and readily communicate to a wide variety of audiences the issues that Pearland will seek to address through collective action. These Focus Areas are:
- BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT: Pearland’s base of employers has grown significantly in recent years, however, Pearland’s tax base is heavily dependent on residential property taxes and retail sales taxes. This poses a potential long-term risk as the community’s housing stock ages and the national bricks-and-mortar retail sector faces an uncertain future. The community must build upon the location and expansion success of recent years and pursue the growth of primary jobs within its borders through a holistic approach to economic development.
- BUSINESS FORMATION AND EARLY–STAGE GROWTH: Pearland must enhance its entrepreneurial ecosystem of individuals, organizations, institutions, and programs that encourage and support the formation and growth of new businesses. By ensuring that Pearland has an optimal business climate and support services to aid business formation and growth, Pearland can position itself as an attractive destination for entrepreneurs and new and growing firms in the Greater Houston region.
- SITE DEVELOPMENT: This Focus Area involves ensuring that Pearland has a competitive, highly visible supply of shovel-ready development sites. Part of this work involves effectively marketing prime districts and ensuring that sites are well-served by needed infrastructure and desirable amenities. In addition, Pearland should take a more proactive approach to increasing the supply of development-ready sites is needed in order to ensure the community’s competitiveness and “unlock” sites that may not be activated in the near term through market forces alone.
- CORRIDORS: The bulk of the community’s available development and redevelopment sites suitable for commercial and/or industrial development are concentrated around three primary corridors: SH 288, FM 518/Broadway, and SH 35. Additionally, many of Pearland’s existing jobs are already clustered along these corridors. Pearland must invest in its key corridors to ensure that they are efficient, aesthetically pleasing, and well maintained in order to ensure that they are attractive destinations for jobs and investment.
- INFRASTRUCTURE AND MOBILITY: Pearland has made significant progress in recent years on a variety of road and highway projects aimed at improving internal mobility within Pearland and easing commutes to key job centers. This Focus Area recommends advancing high-priority road and highway projects and advocating for and developing additional resources needed to fund them. Pearland should also seek to advance options for expanding transit connectivity to major employment centers.
- QUALITY OF LIFE AND QUALITY OF PLACE: A prominent theme that emerged from the public input process is that issues related to quality of life and quality of place are important to Pearland residents, with stakeholders wanting to see Pearland expand and enhance its supply of walkable, mixed-use activity hubs. The community should advance mixed-use developments and catalytic quality of place amenities that can help Pearland maintain its status as a community of choice within Greater Houston.
- WORKFORCE AND TALENT: Pearland is a highly educated community that boasts excellent PK-12 public schools and proximity to numerous higher education institutions and training providers. However, there are several opportunities to further leverage Pearland’s advantages with respect to talent development and address outstanding workforce and training needs. Public, private, and non-profit partners in Pearland must work together to further enhance the community’s workforce and, by extension, its competitiveness for jobs and investment.
The Pearland Prosperity Strategic Plan was approved by the plan’s steering committee on December 11, 2019, the PEDC Board of Directors on January 30, 2020, the Pearland Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors on February 21, 2020 and by City Council on February 24, 2020.