By: Sarah Snyder
ANDREWS - The Waste Control plant in Andrews County has blossomed before our eyes. With it has come economic diversity along with hundreds of new jobs to West Texas. NewsWest 9 wanted to get an idea how those changes have altered the County, and the effects of that new industry aren't hard to miss.
The change is almost everywhere you look.
"The nuclear industry has been a new thing for us," Wesley Burnett with the Andrews Economic Development Office, said. "We've experienced a lot of growth there."
The shovels, bricks, and rows of new homes are adding up in Andrews and the source of all that growth sits at the edge of Andrews County: the WCS plant brought in new workers from all over the U.S.
"We've had New York, California, New England, all over," Lonna Bevel with Southwest Realty in Andrews, said.
On Tuesday, NewsWest 9 sat down with two real estate agents to find out what that means for the Andrews housing market. They say what used to be miles of farmland is now filled with homes.
"It was just acres forever and ever," Bevel said. "They came in, completed a subdivision, a lot of houses are going in - a lot of them are first-time home buyers."
There are several new neighborhoods popping up around Andrews. So far, most of the growth has been on the Northwest side of town. The Economic Development Office says they have about 50 new homes going in every year.
"As far as growth rates, it's been a phenomenal thing," Burnett said. "The last three years we went without much growth at all, so when we started, it really looked like we were growing like crazy. All in all, it was good controlled steady growth which is what we wanted."
But the growth isn't just on the surface - the Economic Development Team says businesses are expanding and schools are packed. In fact, they haven't seen this many families in Andrews in ten years.
"We're seeing growth in our schools which is always a positive trend," Burnett said. "Families are moving in, kids are getting settled into school, so we're excited about that as well."
But while the houses continue to multiply, and businesses and schools fill up - the people who live here say the thing that hasn't changed is the personality.
"A lot of people think we're blessed, a lot of people aren't sure they like it because they liked the quiet little town, but it's still good," Bevel said. "Our crime rate is still down, we have a wonderful police department, it's a wonderful town. They're not going to let any of the other cultures change that."