New housing and new business development were hot topics of conversation at the Rotary Club Wednesday meeting as new Gainesville Economic Development (GEDC) director Arleene Loyd spoke of great strides taking place in Gainesville.
“Moving from my long-time home of Odessa, I have learned West Texas has not cornered the market on friendly and I have been impressed by Gainesville’s welcome,” Loyd said. “I wasn’t looking for a new job when I was recruited but the opportunity came at a time when a new adventure was good for me.”
“My mom and I drove eight hours to Gainesville before I was officially offered the job so we explored the city and the surrounding area,” she said. “It is a lot different moving from a city of over 165,000 people to less than 16,000 but I am adjusting.”
“I have attended many wonderful events since arriving,” she said. “The Zoobilee, the holiday home tour, the live nativity to name a few.”
“Even the rain we have had lately is enjoyable after so many years in the desert of West Texas,” she said.
Loyd said for a city of this size, Gainesville has some great world class businesses, many of them making products that are number one around the globe such as Thirsty Stone, GAF, Zodiac, Select Energy and others.
“The historic district draws people to the downtown area,” she said. “With a new housing development upcoming and a new industrial park in the works, people will be coming to the Gainesville area not only for job opportunities but for the quality of life offered.”
Loyd said the Black Hill Farm housing development will provide new housing choices for those moving into the area.
“The developer, Mike Todd and McClintock homes have a similar development going on in Sanger,” she said. “If interested, you can drive down there to see the quality of homes to be built in Gainesville beginning with phase I next year.”
“I am looking forward to being one of the first home owners there,” she said. “It will be a very comfortable community with amenities for every lifestyle and age.”
Loyd said the 150 acre Gateway Industrial Park,will also begin site development for new construction. The park will border the BNSF railway making cross docking and warehousing a plus for future businesses relocating to the area.
Loyd said that Winstar is growing with leaps and bounds with one half of the 3500 employees coming from the Gainesville area.
“They are building a second wing to the hotel and plans are for it to become a resort destination,” she said. “It is the fastest growing casino in the country with the number of machines increasing significantly from 3900 to 7400.”
She said the new restaurant Rib Cage, although still pending closing, will locate across from Leonard Park and includes plans to bring in two other sit-down type restaurants with them . A new Subway and a Wingstop are also in the works in the area.
“With Gainesville’s reputation for honoring our military, as business opportunities grow and housing is developed, we hope to participate at job fairs at Fort Hood to attract highly skilled retired military personnel to the Gainesville job market,” she said.
“There are so many things going on right now for Gainesville,” she said. “The slowest part of the process is just getting started. Next year holds the promise of many great things for Gainesville and I am glad to be here to see it all happen.”