America’s Fastest-Growing City: How Celina’s Strategic Plan Aims To Spur Further Growth

The Dallas North Tollway is being extended to Celina, north of Frisco and Prosper. That can't come soon enough for this Collin County city, which the U.S. Census Bureau just named the fastest-growing in the U.S. Behind the meteoric growth—and a dizzying list of new developments—is a plan that's guiding it all.

When the U.S. Census Bureau released its Vintage 2023 Population Estimates last week, it put a spotlight on the North Texas city of Celina by naming it America’s fastest-growing city with a population of 20,000 or more.

Celina “grew by 26.6%, more than 53 times that of the nation’s growth rate of 0.5%,” the bureau noted. 

So how has Celina—a Collin County suburb north of Frisco and Prosper with a total 2023 population of 43,317—gotten so hot? Partly, it’s because of a steady drumbeat of residential and multifamily developments in the city. 

In January, Hillwood Communities announced its fourth master-planned development in Celina, Ramble by Hillwood, with 4,000 homes slated to “wind through an immersive nature experience” just north of the city’s downtown. Last November, plans were unveiled for 1876 Country Club in Celina. In August, Celina approved a plan for Rainwater Crossing, a development with nearly 2,000 home sites from Green Brick Partners and Hersh Family Investments. February 2023 saw the announcement of the 150-acre Ranch at Uptown Celina featuring over 450 planned homes.

Other notable projects in the works include:

  • The 3,200-acre Legacy Hills development from Centurion American Development Group, which aims to offer 7,000 homes, 4,100 apartments, a 27-acre sports park, and 100 acres of commercial and retail.
  • Ten Mile Creek from Corson Cramer Development is slated to have 371 single-family homes, 110 townhomes, and various rental homes and apartments.
  • The Parks at Wilson Creek from Cambridge Companies is a $1.5 billion, 720-acre development whose first phase aims to offer 358 homes.

Plus, there’s The Heights at Uptown Celina—and, no doubt, another new project we’ll be telling you about soon.

But all that development hasn’t just happened. It’s part of a plan.

Celina’s Strategic Plan has a focus on innovative infrastructure—and ‘Life Connected’

The North Texas town of Celina has been named America’s fastest-growing city by the U.S. Census Bureau. [Photo: City of Celina/Facebook]

Built into the city of Celina’s Strategic Plan for 2023-2025 is a focus on innovative infrastructure policies and projects that ensure “a sustainable path for growth.” Celina also aims to be “the city of small business” by adopting policies, codes, and ordinances that “cultivate the right environment for small businesses to thrive.”

A lot of the development projects listed above place great emphasis on parks, hike-and-bike trails, golf courses, water features, and more, in order to connect residents with the natural world and—importantly—each other.

That’s a perfect reflection of Celina’s tagline: Life Connected.

“Living a Life Connected is not just our tagline, it’s our mission that extends into every decision made,” the city says. “Life Connected touches on the social and physical aspects of connectivity. Objectives within this Strategic Plan goal touch upon quality-of-life enhancements that aim to keep residents invested long-term.”

One way the city aims to do that is by fortifying and expanding its historic downtown so it can “be the city of the future, connected to its past.” The city says it seeks to connect current and future residents to Celina’s unique past, and recommends future projects that “reflect Celina’s unique culture.”

Supporting businesses via the Celina EDC

A few of the businesses in Celina, which recommends projects that reflect the city’s “unique culture.” [Video still: City of Celina]

All those thousands of homes being built in Celina will need countless businesses to support them, and the rising tide of population means a growing workforce that businesses can tap into.

In its strategic plan, Celina says it “actively supports a thriving business environment with the Celina Economic Development Corporation offering creative incentive packages for qualifying companies.” The city says it has a “supportive business retention and expansion program” that helps companies “thrive after relocating,” with a goal of attracting “high-tech and desirable” businesses to the area.

Young professionals and families have blazed trails northward from Dallas for generations—and it’s no coincidence that Celina is smack in the middle of that trajectory, with Preston Road flowing northward straight through the heart of the city. In December, the North Texas Tollway Authority announced it had reached unanimously agreement to extend the Dallas North Tollway six miles northward through both Prosper and Celina—putting Celina in a direct highway path to and from downtown Dallas and all that’s in between.

Based on all that’s being built in Celina and the population growth that’s coming with it, that highway can’t be laid down fast enough.

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