WACO, TX — The City of Waco has been growing in popularity. With the added attention has come some major development projects.
"We're not putting the city on the map, we're on the map, and that star on the map of Texas is growing every day," said Kent George, the Economic Development Manager for Waco.
It seems just about every part of Waco is under construction. George wants people to be patient and says all of the projects will be well worth the wait.
"It all starts with the river, downtown and connecting the space in between," he said.
On the list of projects is the Brazos Promenade Riverfront Development project. The next 10 to 12 months will bring a new hotel, restaurants, a music venue and much more to downtown Waco.
"The dust, the construction, the traffic, it's all part of the growing pains, and it'll all pay dividends in the future." said George.
Farther south along New Road and I-35, companies like Topgolf and Cinemark are expected to open their doors within the next year.
Something you can't miss is the I-35 construction.
The Texas Department of Transportation anticipates we could see over 50,000 new residents in Mclennan County in the next 20 years.
That's why TxDOT is adding four lanes to each side of the highway, with complete reconstruction to frontage roads, in order to keep up with Waco's growing popularity.
The I-35 project is on track to be completed in the next 3 years.
"I think everyone should be excited because when everything is all said and done, it'll really add mobility to the area, but more importantly increase safety," said Jake Smith, the TxDOT Public Information Officer in Waco.
This year, many local businesses have been hit hard during the coronavirus pandemic.
"We want any and anybody that's coming to visit Waco," said David Ridley with Waco Tours.
Ridley hopes these new projects will be a much-needed lifeline to rebound the local economy.
"Yes it's been hard during COVID, but really just hang in there. You know we're going to blink and open our eyes and Waco is going to look different and feel different and it's gonna pass pretty soon," said Ridley.
The City of Waco estimates all these new projects, including Amazon, will bring in about 2,000 new jobs to the local economy, not counting the construction jobs needed to complete the projects.