Economic Development Week in DeSoto Discussed on City Broadcast DeSoto: In-Depth

Matt Smith with another man in chairs

While it’s not a celebration that rivals Christmas or New Year’s, Economic Development Week, which was initiated by the International Economic Development Council in 2016, will be celebrated in cities worldwide and in DeSoto during the Week of May 6th.


On Thursday afternoon, DeSoto Economic Development Director Matt Carlson joined DeSoto: In-Depth host Matt Smith on their Mobile Edition to discuss Economic Development Week and the latest economic development activities in DeSoto. You can view this broadcast on demand on DeSoto’s Facebook Page. (


Matt Carlson began Thursday’s conversation with some background about Economic Development Week. He noted, “It’s a nationally celebrated week of highlighting economic development professionals and organizations in their communities. Many people know that we do a lot in terms of programs and best practices that positively impact our communities.”


One of the things that the average person might not understand about economic development is that it is not about bringing your favorite restaurant chain or grocer to your city. Director Carlson is constantly asked why don’t we have a particular business here and he has to remind people of the following.

“Economic development isn’t bringing a specific thing to a specific place at a specific time. Economic Development is a process that we engage in, and we stay in the game all the time, because if you don’t when you want to have an impact, you can’t,” said Carlson who added, “Now the other thing is that we don’t build the business. We don’t build the land. Developers do that. And companies choose to place their products in a particular space and time based on a number of different factors that we don’t necessarily impact. So as much as many people think economic development is, I want a Wendy’s and I want it on this corner, it has very little to do with what we do.”


Host Matt Smith later asked Matt Carlson to discuss the significance of the Hampton Road Redevelopment Project which has been at the forefront of DeSoto’s future development plans. Carlson cited one area of current development in DeSoto as an example and said that the Hampton Road project is much more massive and significant.

Director Carlson observed, “Hampton Road, if you think about what’s going on where Chick-fil-A is, and the THR facility, the new healthcare facility, and the new Starbucks that are right there on Westmoreland and Belt Line. If you think of that on steroids, you’re talking about Hampton Road. You’re creating this co-tenancy that’s super important to businesses. Chick-fil-A doesn’t want to be off by itself. It wants to be where there is lots of other stuff going on. The same thing with Starbucks. The same things with Salata, or any of these franchises that we talk about. That’s not any different really then if you start to talk to developers of housing, they want to be near those same amenities.”


Carlson said that thinking about development on a much broader scale, and not parcel by parcel, is how a city becomes more successful. And he said that is where the Hampton Road Project and its “visionary” character code comes in. “This community has been working on it for 20 years to create this downtown area and to craft this vision and to cast that vision…that it enables us to think way beyond what sits there today.”


You can hear this program in its entirety on DeSoto’s Facebook Page ( and you can learn more about the Hampton Road Corridor Plan and its Character Code zoning districts by visiting the plan’s website:

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