Since launching a series of comments about the need for economic development in Alpine more than a year ago in this space, many things are happening, most for the good.
In fact, friends have kidded me recently about my comments. Am I becoming a Pollyanna?
As in all things, living in a small town has advantages and disadvantages compared to life in the big city.
We don’t have wall-to-wall shopping centers, amusement parks and a vibrant nightlife.
On the other hand, we don’t have the traffic, crime and other joys of urban life such as long drives to get just about anywhere.
They have a choice of secondary education centers. But we have Sul Ross, which is a major contributor to our economic climate.
I’ll take the latter, thank you. Work and home are eight blocks apart for me and even traveling to the opposite end of town is usually less than a 10-minute commute.
Living in the Metroplex for 35 years, I frequently made the point it could take half an hour just to go down the block. Now, with roads from the Red River almost to South America under construction, it takes even longer.
True, many of our streets in Alpine are in pretty bad shape. The city realizes earlier administrations got way behind on that critical work and it will take years to recover.
But they are working on it.
Our medical services are quite good for a small town but we still have to go to someplace like El Paso, Midland/Odessa or Lubbock for some specialty work. But that is changing over time with new equipment and services in the works at Big Bend Regional Hospital. For a list of services currently available, see www.bigbendheathcare.com.
Other plans are in the works for a professional nursing home.
One service grew greatly this month with the opening of Bella Dental West Texas, a full-service facility that can handle a lot of dental services we used to have to travel some distance to get.
Not only do local dentists have someone to refer patients to for advanced work, we could become a draw for a wide area of west Texas if we are closer to them than one of the above cities.
Dr. Iris Korus moved her practice here from Valentine earlier this year and the new Alpine Family Health Center plans to offer dental services as well.
Alpine as a dental center? It could happen.
When we got into this, some said most folks want to keep Alpine just like it is. And we still hear people saying they don’t want big box stores moving in.
But we had a question in our paper last year about what people wanted to see happen in Alpine and one choice was no new development. About 20 percent checked that box, meaning that 80 percent did want something to happen.
No, we don’t want to become another Metroplex, Houston or even Midland/Odessa. I think we would get close to a unanimous response if we asked that question.
But a few more services, sprucing up some more older buildings and improving the overall feel of our central business district – if you can call it that – will help the ambiance of the town a great deal.
And it just might provide enough jobs to keep some of our kids in town after they finish school.
To my way of thinking, we are doing a lot of things right.
Let’s keep up the good work.