TROY, TX — The COVID-19 pandemic has taken attention away from one of the biggest issues in Central Texas- Bell County's fast growth.
Who keeps moving here? Where do they locate? and why?
If you see vacant land in Bell County, get a good look at it now because experts say it won’t stay that way for long. Empty lots seem to become subdivisions almost overnight.
Take the Turtle Creek subdivision in Troy. One year ago, we showed you one single home going up. One year later, an entire neighborhood has emerged with folks like the Farney's, Ashley, her husband and son Garrett, who said they'd take Texas any day.
They especially love Bell County and the town of Troy.
"It's definitely the community. The sense of community, the sense of closeness, the sense of that my son can just go ride his bike and I don't really have to worry about the distracted driving and I don't have to worry about, you know, little things like that," said Ashley Farney.
People like the Farney's, searching for good lives, good jobs, and good schools, keep moving to Central Texas. Bell County remains their top choice, making it number 18 in Texas growth at a rate of more than 35% a year.
"In the past 20 to 25 years, we have more than doubled in population. I don't see that slowing down," explained Bell County Judge David Blackburn, who says it's the kind of so-called problem government leaders love to have, because it gives them kind of a blank canvas on which to create a vision for the future with good jobs and leisure activities.
"The challenges are planning for all that growth and development and meeting the needs of the citizens across the county," said Judge Blackburn.
Balancing the needs of the people and the wants of developers can get tricky, but the judge and the commissioner's court say they're ready for the challenge.
Because as the Farneys show, the demand's not going to stop.
"It's gonna be really interesting to see. It's gonna be interesting to see the growth and the progression of the town and hopefully it still continues to stay that small town feel we don't lose that," said Ashley.
People say that good quality of life is what brings them here. The trick for county leaders and city leaders is maintaining the quality of life.