GEARING UP FOR GROWTH IN RURAL TEXAS
ALICE, Texas – In a small rural area in South Texas, sometimes it is hard for change to occur, and not all changes are reasonable. Recently, a divide has formed that hurts the growth of opportunities in such small communities, especially in regard to the decreasing residential population. Especially when everyone thinks they know your family, your business, and who you are.
What if, instead of thinking outside the box, we choose to live like there is no box at all? The focus is not to change people or yourself but build new opportunities that result in communal success. The goal is to unite, rather than divide, and sharing success is what results in unique opportunities to grow.
“Living the American Dream” is commonly said, how often do we consider what it means? At least in my humble opinion, it means that the American drive to work, to persist, and to ultimately achieve both long- and short-term goals is the most fundamental building block to success and happiness. And to that end, new local businesses are opening constantly in Jim Wells County and specifically in Alice, each new entrepreneur chasing their American Dream.
This is not atypical; all over the state of Texas, the move to boost economic development tends to be a leading priority. There are many programs available through the state government, colleges/universities, and other nonprofit organizations that are geared toward this end. Texas is a prime location for new businesses as a result. However, rural districts like ours tend to be victims of economic oversight. Elections have begun to swing things in favor of rural areas, but so far its not enough. There is an upcoming Uniform Election for the City of Alice and Alice Independent School Board, which will be yet another opportunity for the citizens to directly shape their community.
Hopefully, 2023 will be the year to open some eyes because the decreasing population. According to the 2020 Census, Alice lost 7.06% residential population. This is a red flag for investors, especially those from outside the area that might infuse Jim Wells with needed funding and investment. People that have left have done so to seek opportunity elsewhere – there is a need for elected officials to try to bring them back through policy implementation and transparent, fair leadership.