Cleburne’s economy remains healthy despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, said Cleburne Economic Development Manager Grady Easdon during Tuesday night’s Cleburne City Council meeting.
“Our local economy continues to regain the momentum that was lost during the pandemic,” Easdon said. “We’re seeing more local businesses getting back to close to normal capacities. We’re seeing people hosting events again, people getting back out, which is really great to see.”
Home construction remains “upward and rising,” Easdon said.
The city issued 58 new residential permits in March compared to 37 in March 2020, Easdon said, and has issued 171 year to date compared to 67 through the same period last year.
“We ended up issuing 328 new residential permits last year and here we sit with 171 so far this year,” Easdon said. “It’s just absolutely astounding.”
The better news, Easdon said, is that new homes are selling.
“Our housing inventory is in extremely short supply,” Easdon said. “All the new construction ongoing is going to alleviate that. But we currently have less than one month’s supply of new housing in Cleburne. Normally that supply is five to six months.”
Easdon highlighted several housing developments in various stages of planning and construction. He also displayed before and after pictures of downtown buildings improved in part by the city’s facade grant. The grant awards up to $5,000 in matching funds to owners who improve their building’s facade.
Easdon went on to highlight new businesses, including the recently opened Aldi Grocery Story, which hosts its grand opening today.
“We also continue our efforts to retain existing local businesses,” Easdon said. “Its more critical now than ever that we encourage retention and expansion to keep our economy vibrant. At the same time, we continue to recruit new companies to come to Cleburne. We’re trying to get them to move from the busier areas where land’s a lot more expensive and the cost of living is a lot higher. We’re seeing results from that and things are looking pretty good for the city of Cleburne.”
Cleburne Mayor Scott Cain agreed.
“The tricky part as we grow is to figure out how to maintain our sense of community and character,” Cain said. “We certainly welcome all the new folks coming but we also want to maintain that it factor of what makes Cleburne uniquely Cleburne.
“That doesn’t mean getting stuck in the past. It means protecting and preserving what we have and growing and building upon those successes.”