Pleasanton sees economic explosion
Eagle Ford Shale development fuels population, business growth
The peace and quiet of small-town life has given way to an explosion of economic development.
"We're getting a Taco Bell," said resident Chelsey McDaniel. "For Pleasanton, that's pretty big."
Because of its location, the city, famous for its live oaks and peanuts, has become a hub for oil and gas companies working the nearby Eagle Ford Shale.
Many have set up headquarters and offices in town.
"Two years ago, we had 11 properties for sale in our industrial park. They sold in 48 hours. And two others have been built since then," said Pleasanton City Manager Bruce Pearson.
The sign on the outskirts of town puts the population at 8,934. But Pearson says they're providing services for more like 13,000 people.
That influx of people has meant a need for more businesses, from barber shops to cell phone shops.
The HEB is more than doubling in size. Work is already under way for more gas pumps. The new, bigger store should be complete in about a year.
Hotels continue to go up and more restaurants are opening their doors.
"When we were younger, we used to have to go to San Antonio for everything," said Misty Ramos, who grew up in this town.
She now manages the Gabriel's Liquor store, which opened its doors less than two years ago. Bourbon and whiskey sales are good, she said.
With the growth spurt, comes growing pains, most noticeably, traffic. Tanker trucks and big rigs contribute to the congestion.
"From about 3:30 in the morning to about 11 at night is rush hour," Pearson said.
The city is trying to be proactive in keeping up with growth by investing in infrastructure.
This town, the birthplace of the cowboy, now has bigger issues than where to hitch the horse.
"We feel like we're in for some exponential growth for the next five to seven, if not 10 years," Pearson said.
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