welcoming major growth and opportunity
Boasting major economic initiatives and offering an enviable quality of life, Taylor, Texas continues to anticipate further expansion
With an ideal location only 30 miles from the city of Austin, Taylor, Texas has all the charm of America’s hometown, with easy access to big city amenities. This progressive and vibrant community of 19,000 is also a city on the brink of major growth, as it welcomes new industries and opportunities.
“The Austin metropolitan area is one of the fastest growing regions in the country, and because of that Taylor has begun to experience a lot of that growth as well,” shares Assistant City Manager and Director of Developmental Services, Tom Yantis. “But the charm of Taylor is actually that it has been a self-contained small town for generations. People come to Taylor and really appreciate that small town feels that it still maintains. For people who are looking for that type of environment to live and raise children in, having the amenities that being so close to the Austin Metro area provides is a real benefit for the city.”
Samsung’s 2021 announcement that they will be building a new semiconductor manufacturing facility in Taylor has been the source of much excitement at the city and state levels. “That is the largest foreign direct investment in Texas history, and it will end up probably being one of the largest economic development deals in US history,” relays Yantis.
“Initially, their announcement was to build one fabrication unit, and then subsequently, they announced that they were going to plan for the potential construction of nine additional fabrication facilities in Taylor. It’ll end up being over a $200 billion total investment in the community.” This has spurred a flurry of planning, as Yantis adds, “That has established the framework for the city’s economic development for years to come. Having sort of landed the big fish, the focus is to work to attract a lot of ancillary businesses that are related to Samsung being in Taylor.”
With the goal of attracting businesses who play a role in semiconductor manufacturing, the city is also working to get the land ready, so construction of new facilities can coincide with Samsung’s timeframes. “In addition to that, not very far from Taylor is the Tesla manufacturing facility, and we have seen a lot of Tesla-related businesses and suppliers also looking to locate in Taylor because of the close proximity that we provide to the Tesla plant,” he conveys. “So that has been our framework, and it’s certainly been a monumental shift in thinking since the Samsung announcement and has really kind of focused our energies into the high-tech and semiconductor manufacturing field.”
As for what made Taylor the right choice for Samsung, Yantis says the city, along with Williamson County, the Taylor Independent School Board, and the state of Texas collaborated on a package that would put them in the running as an attractive option. “We are in a great location, with the proximity to the Austin Metro area, which is already known as a hub for high technology businesses. We were able to put together a package that would provide them with the utility infrastructure that they needed, water, sewer, electricity, fiber connectivity, all of those things that were critical pieces of the puzzle, as well as transportation infrastructure to get their employees to and from the plant site,” elaborates Yantis.
“So, a lot of things came together. That team really excelled at answering all of the questions that Samsung had throughout their site selection process in a way that I think led them to believe that we would be the best place to put their facility.”
Over the last several years, the City of Taylor has updated all of its master plans, outlining a vision for future growth, and land use accommodations over the next twenty years. In support of future growth infrastructure updates are also required, leading to updates of water and wastewater master plans, laying out projects that will occur over the next two decades.
Yantis acknowledges, “We’re expanding our wastewater treatment plant, we’re building some new water system infrastructure, some new pumping stations to improve the flow of water through our distribution system. A lot of things like that, as well as working collaboratively with Williamson County and the Texas Department of Transportation, with a lot of transportation projects in and around the Samsung facility.”
Yantis suggests that with the economic opportunity that Samsung brings to the community reinvestment of tax proceeds into Taylor’s historic downtown will also be on the agenda. Already completed in this area is a streetscape project which not only improves safety for pedestrians but also adds some aesthetic enhancements to the downtown. “Those are things that we hope to be able to continue to do as we have the resources due to our economic development activities,” he says.
Workforce Development is also a key ingredient in Taylor’s future planning, including a part of the agreement with Samsung that guarantees the hiring of 24 interns from the Taylor Independent School District every year. “That in and of itself is a huge opportunity, and really a great thing for Taylor students,” remarks Osborne. The company has also committed to providing 1,800 full-time jobs when in the community, as well as ensuring that Taylor companies are considered for the construction of the new plants.
“They also are working with the Chamber of Commerce to make sure that they’re involved in the city. We have a really good partnership with them. Beyond the internships, we don’t have any specific workforce development initiatives going on right now, but I know that those are coming down the pipeline as the plant is built, workforce development will be a constant issue and something that we’re discussing all the time,” she says.
In a proactive effort to plan for a curriculum that will support the skills that the company will need in their manufacturing operations Samsung and Temple College are currently in discussions, although a formal partnership has not been announced.
Rich with outdoor opportunities, including hike and bike trails following along Bull Branch Creek, the city of Taylor is very connected to recreation and parks in every direction. Protecting this natural waterway, even as the community grows, is part of Taylor’s sustainability plan, as Yantis describes, “One of the things that we did as a part of our comprehensive plan update is to designate all of our floodplain corridors as priority open space. As we grow, one of the great things that we’ll be able to do is protect those natural waterways from being developed. That will help with stormwater management, it will also retain a lot of the city’s tree canopy and help us with linking neighborhoods together through hiking and bike corridors throughout the community.”
The city is also home to Murphy Park, featuring a large lake, a community pool, and pavilions, making it an ideal gathering place in the community. As well, Taylor Regional Park and Sports Complex, one of the premier facilities of its kind in Central Texas, brings many to the area for baseball, softball, and soccer tournaments.
To bolster tourism and highlight the many features of the community, Taylor has enlisted Marketing firm Arsenal, who have rebranded the city with the tagline, “Visit Taylor-Made”. Director of Communications Stacey Osborne recounts, “They work with our Main Street department to help promote a lot of the activities and things that we’re doing in the city. They do a great job. They understand tourism, they understand marketing, they bring us really great opportunities.” The city of Taylor has also been designated ‘Texas Main Street City’ since 1999.
Through this key partnership, the city has been connected with entities like Travel Texas, and Texas Monthly, who promote the city to a larger audience. Taylor’s own communication team also has a robust social media presence, updating residents and visitors on what is happening in the city, and providing publicity for special events.
The city also has specific social media pages dedicated to events such as the Main Street Car Show which happens every November, as well as the Weekend Farmers Market. As a small community of 19,000, Osborne admits, “We depend heavily on social media, we don’t have much of a marketing budget, we do a little bit of advertising, and we purchase social media ads when appropriate for those big events. Mostly we just do it through social media and word of mouth.”
With so much to offer already, Taylor is looking forward to growth and prosperity as the city welcomes new economic opportunities. With plans for the Samsung semiconductor plant to be operational in 2024, Yantis says the city will continue to ensure that infrastructure systems are in place to support this facility. Long-range planning that supports the inevitable growth the city will experience, in a way that invites development that meets the goals and needs of the community, is another focus going forward. All of this is possible because of the economic development successes the city of Taylor has experienced and will continue to attract in the future.
AT A GLANCE
What: A city of 19,000 experiencing major economic growth
Where: Williamson County, Central Texas
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