Denison residents, business leaders and other stakeholders came together Friday to recap what the past year has meant for the city and what 2019 has to offer. These updates came as part of the Denison Development Alliance’s 18th Annual Economic Development Conference, which showcased upcoming projects not only in Denison but across the region.

“I think it’s great that we’ve got close to 300 people in attendance here,” DDA board Chairman David Spindle said. “We’ve used this time to stop and celebrate our successes this past year and the things we’ve accomplished that have helped our city and community.”

For the city of Denison, 2018 proved to be a successful year for development. Between the projects that saw fruition and those that were announced, DDA President Tony Kaai said the city saw nearly $60 million of investment over the past year.

“This year has been amazing for us — $60 million in investment in a town of 24,000 is something most cities can’t boast,” Kaai said. “We have every opportunity to keep that trend.”

Kaai took the opportunity to highlight several projects that saw work in 2018, including several new restaurants, a new 30,000-square-foot location for Denison Glass & Mirror and the recent expansion of Texoma Medical Center.

Friday’s summit included many members of the Denison and Texoma community, but also saw brokers and representatives for prospective developers come for an update. Kaai said the event can serve as a starting point and a barometer for prospective businesses who are considering making the move to Denison.

This year’s presentations included many topics of growth within the city, including upcoming construction and new tenants in downtown Denison and the city’s recent housing boom. Other topics were more focused on the region as a whole rather than being specific to Denison’s needs.

In a change of pace for the event, the DDA summit included talks from representatives from across the region, including discussions on the growth of the Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma and the 3,000-acre Mantua development near Van Alstyne and Anna. Other topics, including a talk by Grayson County Judge Bill Magers on upcoming work on U.S. Highway 75, were broad and encompassed much of the region.

Kaai said the DDA has worked to gradually add topics that are more regional or will be noticed by Denison residents as they travel throughout the region. Kaai said these topics are included to ensure Denison residents have a clear view of all major developments that could impact the community.

“It is an eye-opener for a lot of people,” Kaai said, referring to work on the Choctaw Casino & Resort in Durant. “They see things going up but they don’t know what’s going on.”