By Sylvia Gonzalez
BIG SPRING - After meeting last week, Big Spring city officials are trying to figure out what to do with the large influx of people coming in due to the Cline shale. Part of why they're seeing so many folks coming in to town is because the largest pocket of oil covers a big area including Howard County.
NewsWest 9 spoke with the Economic Development Corporation and they explained what crucial steps the city and county need to take to get prepared.
"With the potential of the Cline Shale we want to be as knowledgeable and prepared as possible should that type of development come to our region," Terry Wegman, President of the Big Spring Economic Development Corporation, said.
Wegman says the Eagle Ford Conference which took place last week in San Antonio served as a learning tool. He knows in months to come Howard County will be faced with a growing population. He also believes he knows what the major issue is going to be.
"Housing is going to be a big issue. We're starting to see an influx of a lot of the temporary housing in RV's and those kinds of things. Labor would be probably the next thing we need to address, and then how if this activity really picks up, how it's going to affect all the other resources that we have," Wegman said.
The Cline Shale runs about 140 miles north to south and about 70 miles wide through Howard, Glasscock, Reagan and Sterling counties and Big Spring is the largest town within those counties. Mayor Tommy Duncan says the time to plan for the unexpected is now.
He says attending the Eagle Ford Conference was an eye opener on how big things will be getting for the city of Big Spring in the near future.
"We have to plan, we have to have solid infrastructure and the common theme is, that if the communities do not control the growth in their area that the growth will begin to control the communities," Duncan said.
Wegman says although the Shale brings good opportunities for the city of Big Spring, it can also come at a high price.
"Labor issues, infrastructures issues with a lot of activity, you get a lot of damage to county roads those kinds of things. There's a strain put on the educational system and medical community," Wegman said.
Mayor Duncan says committees are currently meeting to find solutions to the housing situation. He believes that without a strategy in place, the impact could be negative.
"If we don't plan then people will come and there will be no control over where people live and how they live, there won't be much control over what type of infrastructures, industries and business come into the community," Duncan said.
Mayor Duncan and Mr. Wegman told NewsWest 9, officials with the Eagle Ford Shale will be coming to Big Spring sometime next month.