BIG LAKE - The city of Big Lake just got their hands on a cheat sheet to help master the growth they're facing. It's a study that gives them an in-depth look into their future.
The Texas A&M Engineering Assessment Service (TEEX) assessment took about four months to put together. Now, officials say they have the tools to make Big Lake the hot spot they believe it's set to be.
A map sums up their particular growth. A central dot indicating the city actually sits right in the middle of three main energy centers. So all the growth resulting from its prime location has led to a need to find out how Big Lake can be more competitive. So they requested the study.
At the heart of it was information they already knew; they need a pharmacy, more entertainment and retail.
"To give the people of Big Lake a choice to shop in Big Lake without having to brave- literally- the traffic to Midland/Odessa or San Angelo," Big Lake Economic Development Corporation Director, Gloria Bagette, said. She said that the assessment, "opens the door for us to get there," considering most corporations require a similar study be done before they even talk to officials.
The study, which was formally presented to a select group of community members Tuesday night brought out some other facts. That includes unveiling the newly projected population count, which the study concluded is above 5,000 that would lead them into opportunities via a new classification.
The now more than 7,500 people would allow the city to extend it's extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) from .5 miles to one mile and also to annex more land with the proper certification. Currently, the University of Texas owns most of the land surrounding the town, allowing it to only expand east for now. However, any extra land would bring in a property and sales tax base.
"It could be a big financial help to the city, which is what they're needing right now because they've been hit so hard," Bagette said.
"We're having very expensive growing pains right now," City Councilman, Phil Pool, said. "Our main concern is the infrastructure. We can't go anywhere without building the infrastructure to receive it all."
But city leaders believe they're ahead of the curve in attracting companies especially with improvements they're already making at the hospital, airport and school.
"It's exciting and it's scary," Pool said.
Now, officials just have to digest the information before they can form any action items.