The Van Alstyne Community Development Corporation wrapped up its 20th year of existence in December with a distinguished list of accomplishments for the preceding 12 months. Quality of life projects funded by the VACDC in 2017 were numerous. Looking at city parks, for example, VACDC funded the installation of playground equipment and a protective canopy at Forrest Moore Park, a new merry-go-round at North Park and renovation of the gazebo at the downtown Dorothy Fielder Park.


Local organizations received assistance, as well. VACDC partnered with the Van Alstyne Chamber of Commerce to help fund the annual Fall der All celebration and to continue renovation work on one of the organization’s two historic rail cars. VACDC also teamed up with Keep Van Alstyne Beautiful to fund the Christmas tree lighting in December.


VACDC worked with the Van Alstyne Public Library and the Friends of the Library to help completely rework its Highway 5-facing side and add a new fire exit in 2017. This was done through our Façade & Infrastructure Improvement Program grant. These grants allow for VACDC to match funds for local businesses or organizations that are wishing to improve or re-do their existing storefronts. Not only does this help improve the appearance of the business, but it contributes to the overall beauty of the city and encourages visitors to spend time in the community. Additionally, since it is a grant and not a loan it lessens the financial impact on the business.


The popular Van Alstyne Senior Center was another organization to benefit from this program as the entire façade was rebuilt with stone and wood for the beautiful front entrance seen today. VACDC even partnered with the Van Alstyne Independent School District, funding a program to install new scoreboards at the baseball and softball fields at Forrest Moore Park.


As much as the Façade Program helps the overall appearance of the community, it also serves to aid local businesses. VACDC worked with developer Kristy Bryant as she undertook a massive renovation of the old hardware store location on Marshall Street, as well as the space behind it on Preston Street. That project has paid off handsomely in the form of Wolfe Pack Trading, a new antique/auction business which is in the process of relocating to downtown Van Alstyne from Anna.


Façade Program grants are not the only way the Community Development Corporation helps the business community. In addition to assisting new businesses in navigating the sometimes-tricky process of permits and inspections, the CDC provides aid wherever necessary. When The Duchess Inn — an historic house at Highway 5 and Marshall Street being converted into a quilting retreat — encountered issues with installing a fire suppression system, the VACDC worked with the owners in the form of a community grant to help pay for the cost of the system and keep the business in Van Alstyne. VACDC also acts as a concierge of sorts to the business community, helping owners with permitting issues, inspection issues and even speaking out on their behalf, as when it supported El Patio Mexican Restaurant with public comments at a City Council meeting in 2017.


While 2017 was a busy and productive year for the Van Alstyne Community Development Corporation, 2018 shows no signs of slowing down. Looking ahead, VACDC has already committed to funding a Façade Program grant for Quality Drafting in downtown, providing for new restroom facilities at McKinney Wilson (East Field) Park, and aiding The Roost, a new downtown restaurant in opening its doors in the coming months, by connecting the entrepreneurs with commercial property owners, helping them craft a business plan, and assisting them in navigating the permitting process.


VACDC has also committed to helping fund both a master plan for Van Alstyne parks and the Community Development Plan undertaken by the City and Gateway Planning to help insure that Van Alstyne is truly ready for the bright future that lies ahead.


For more information on the Van Alstyne Community Development Corporation or local business, contact Rodney Williams at 903-712-2002 or Click Online at vacdc@gcecisp.com.