Cline Shale Catalyst for Nolan County Forward Planning

Posted: 02/20/2013
Author: Ken Becker

Press Release ………………………….. for immediate release

Nolan County “Think Tank” / Forward Planning Meeting

After a recent SEED Board Meeting, SEED staff and SEED President Art Maberry were in discussion concerning the sellout of all the acreage in the existing Sweetwater Business Park and where do we go from here.  Art stated “wouldn’t it be nice to have all the taxing entities in Nolan County meeting together to help form the look of Nolan County and our future!”  With that statement, the Nolan County “Think Tank” / Forward Planning Committee was started.  Art directed the SEED staff to organize and facilitate a planning session with the different entities.  The core group included Nolan County, the Mayors & City Managers from Roscoe and Sweetwater, school Superintendents’ from Highland, Roscoe, Blackwell, & Sweetwater along with representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, Bitter Creek Water Supply, RPMH, TSTC West Texas, Nolan County Foundation, Sweetwater Industrial Foundation, and SEED staff.

The committee held their first meeting at the Sweetwater Country Club on Friday, February 15, 2013.  Even though the Cline Shale was the catalyst for the meeting, the group agreed that this was something that needed to be done.  Many topics were discussed in the short 2 hour meeting.  Cody Thompson, Roscoe City Manager, discussed Man Camps and where do you place them in your community, how do you police them, and finally how do you make sure they are cleaned up after they leave.  Mayor Wortham and Sweetwater City Manager Eddie Brown discussed the different ordinances they are addressing concerning truck parking, storage unit placement, landfill capacities, and more.  Gil Cherry, President of the Sweetwater chamber of Commerce stated that it is good to look at ordinances, but “we must not come off as being to un-friendly to our new companies and residents”.  Additional items of discussion included transportation/road repair issues, qualified labor force, water, housing, and much more.  GayNell Cherry, Human Resource Director for RPMH, discussed the concern of the existing service sector employees in the hospital, motels, restaurants, and convenience stores will be greatly impacted and “where will the employees come from to replace them?”  It was noted that this may be a great opportunity for high school students and newly graduated young men and women to get a start on their job futures and experience.  Additional topics were discussed and will be addressed at future meetings.

The Nolan County “Think Tank”/ Forward Planning group will meet again in late March.  Other activities being planned are a town hall meeting in April to update our communities on the activities of the Cline Shale. 

Nolan County has been fortunate to have the wind boom in 2005-2010 and the start of the oil boom in 2013.  Our experiences through the wind boom have given us opportunities of understanding that not many counties will have.   The Nolan County “Think Tank”/ Forward Planning committee will take those experiences and build on a future that is bright. 

As we have enjoyed the shade from trees planted before us, it is our time to plant the seeds of shade trees for our children and grandchildren to enjoy!