KOSSE, TX — There are a lot of perks to living in a small town, but also a few drawbacks.
"You know everybody and everybody is family," said Glenda O'Neal, who's lived in Kosse for more than 50 years. "But it is inconvenient if you need to have medical care, to have to travel."
Right now, the 500 people who live in Kosse have to drive all the way to the Limestone Medical Center in Groesbeck if they need any form of medical care.
It's a 20 minute drive, which is a problem if you need help fast.
"I've had to take my husband," O'Neal said. "I had a stroke five years ago, so he had to take me to Groesbeck, then follow the ambulance to Waco."
It's no surprise that people in the city have better access to medical care than those who live in more rural areas.
The National Rural Health Association reports there are only 30 specialists per 100,000 people in rural communities, compared to 263 specialists per 100,000 urban residents.
The town of Kosse is working to do more for its residents by opening its first-ever medical center. The groundbreaking ceremony happened Wednesday morning.
"It's an aspect of life that we haven't had here before in this small town," said Kosse Mayor Jarred Eno. "There are families without vehicles or ways to get to Groesbeck routinely. This will be a place where they can take their children to get immunizations, physicals and whatever they need."
In about six months, residents will no longer have to hop in the car for an unwanted road trip. The care they need will be within walking distance from their home.
"We'll offer primary care services, women's wellness, childcare," said Larry Price, chief executive officer for the Limestone Medical Center. "We also hope to bring in some specialists from the Waco and Bryan-College Station area to this clinic as well to see patients."
Price expects the clinic to open mid-October. Once it's up and running, it will operate Monday through Friday.
"Oh I'm just thrilled. It's going to be wonderful," O'Neal said. "I look forward to it every day."
The Kosse Community Medical Clinic was made possible by a partnership between Kosse and the Limestone Medical Center.
Eno said the entire project will cost $525,000. A grant will cover $500,000 and the town will pay the remaining $25,000.