In January 2018, the City of Tyler and Smith County began discussing a potential collaborative effort to jointly plan for future development and economic growth in the heart of the County Seat—downtown Tyler. Both entities recognized the value of working together toward this end and ensuring that other institutions, individuals, and the public at-large had significant input through a unified coalition. Both entities recognized and appreciated the contributions of numerous individuals, businesses, and organizations (such as Heart of Tyler) over the past decades to work toward the renovation and renaissance of downtown Tyler. Both entities desired to form a coalition representative of the entire Smith County community to unify and synergize efforts among the various interested groups. As a result, an historic joint meeting of the Tyler City Council and Smith County Commissioners Court was held on September 27, 2018 to identify those initial members of the core working group of the County Seat Coalition, and to reaffirm each entity’s commitment to the objective of the County Seat Coalition.
The goal of the County Seat Coalition is to work together to (i) serve as a hub for gathering public input, data, information, and analysis for accomplishing the objective of collaborative economic development in the center of the county seat (ii) vet and recommend to the appropriate parties or entities action steps to accomplish this objective; and (iii) unify efforts of the various interested parties, institutions, and governmental entities interested in this objective so that communication is clear, purpose is single-minded, and efforts are synergized toward the same end.
The initial members of the core working group of the County Seat Coalition includes:
Ed Broussard, City Manager
Phil Burks, CEO of The Genesis Group
Brooke Droptini, Advanced Project Development Director for TxDOT
Bob Garrett, President and CEO of Fair Oil Ltd.
Shelbie Glover, Executive Director of Lindale Chamber of Commerce
JoAnn Hampton, Smith County Commissioner – Precinct 4
Tony Johnson, Bullard ISD Trustee & Community Leader
Broderick McGee, City of Tyler Councilmember – District 2-West
Juan Mejia, TJC President for Branch Locations & District Provost
Nathaniel Moran, County Judge
Tom Mullins, President & CEO of Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce and TEDC
Hon. Kerry Russell, 7th Judicial District Court Judge
Sam Scarborough, Representative – Downtown Owners’ Group
Aaron Smith, City Manager of the City of Whitehouse
Dr. Michael Tidwell, President of UT-Tyler
Ingrid Young, President of Heart of Tyler