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Waco officials proactive to growth, but how is it impacting our economy?

Posted at 5:46 PM, May 30, 2024

WACO, Texas (KXXV) — More and more people are moving to the City of Waco and neighborhoods around us. City officials are looking to expand their infrastructure.

Part of that is pushing forward with the North Brazos Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is something we've previously reported on.

As those plans develop, city leaders are looking to expand their Bull Hide Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The subject was brought in front Waco city council last week in hopes of getting the expansion on the upcoming budget and those conversations are ongoing.

"Right now with that wastewater treatment plant once we start treating about 75% of the full capacity of that plant there's actually a mandate that we have to start looking at expanding and so that's the process that we're in now," said Jessica Emmett Sellers, Sr. Public Information & Communication Specialist Communications & Marketing.

She added, "Big part of that has to do with also the request being made by the communities that we serve. So this a wastewater treatment plant that serves Waco, Hewitt, and Lorena and so they've requested more capacities."

Combined, the three cities have requested to expand the capacity from 1.5 million to 4 million

This is to keep up with growing populations.

U.S. Census data shows Waco's population grew 3.3% in three years. Hewitt grew by 4.1% in that same time frame however Lorena's population actually dropped.

So populations are growing, but is the economy keeping up?

Dr. Ray Perryman with The Perryman Group, an economic and financial analysis firm, said:

"Well we’ve seen a little bit of a slowdown throughout the country in recent weeks and months and Waco has seen a little bit of that kinda stabilizing, but our long-term growth and even short-term growth rates for Waco are quite good. We’re forecasting right now that the output in the area will grow at about a 3.3% annual rate and employment will grow at about a 2.2% annual rate. Those are right in line with the rates for the state of Texas as a whole which will be one of the faster growing places in the country.”

Dr. Perryman attributes a lot of that growth to tourism opportunities like Magnolia, downtown development, expansions in manufacturing in Waco, and developments continuing along I-35.

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