Population booms in Victoria County, Crossroads

Melissa Crowe By Melissa Crowe

May 24, 2013 at 12:24 a.m.

Victoria County's growth is unmatched in the Crossroads.

New census estimates show the county's population boomed 2.1 percent between July 2011 and July 2012.

While Calhoun, DeWitt, Lavaca and other surrounding counties saw about 1 percent growth, Victoria County's growth is the fastest in the region.

The Eagle Ford Shale is the main driver of the boom, said Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Randy Vivian.

"We're getting a lot of drilling companies and a lot of oil-field-related companies that are using Victoria as a hub," Vivian said. "Because they're locating offices here, they're bringing in people from other parts of the state and country."

Victoria County's population was at 87,454 in 2011, and recent estimates show it at 89,269, according to the census.

The latest data released by the U.S. Census Bureau shows eight of 15 cities with the fastest growth in the United States are in Texas. No other state had more than one city in the top 15 list.

Estimates released Thursday also show that half of those cities in the nation with the largest total population increases are in Texas. Houston added more than 34,500 people to reach 2.2 million inhabitants - only second to New York City in total population gains over the 12-month period.

San Marcos is the fastest-growing city in the U.S., increasing by 4.9 percent. It also surpassed the 50,000-population mark, the minimum threshold that cities had to reach to be included in the bureau's list.

Other cities with rapid population growth include Midland and Odessa in West Texas; Conroe, just north of Houston; and the Austin suburbs of Cedar Park and Georgetown, as well as Frisco and McKinney, located north of Dallas.

Vivian said he is not surprised most of the growth is along the Interstate 35 corridor.

Vivian said growth goes hand in hand with economic development. In Victoria's case, it's partnerships that brought Caterpillar and other business to the county, he said.

The growth is bringing many changes to the community.

"We've got motels, new restaurants and new shopping," Vivian said.

Vivian is confident Victoria will continue seeing more development. His office has been contacted by several national retailers and restaurant chains.

One of the biggest indicators of growth is the second Wal-Mart, Vivian said.

"That's a huge preamble of things that are going to be built up," he said. "They go in quick when they see population changes, then others follow."

However, big box retailers can threaten area business.

Vivian said because most of Victoria's "mom and pop shops" have a niche clientele, they should continue maximizing marketing strategies.

Vivian said he sees area retailers prospering as the economy continues growing.

"Make sure you're covering all your bases and not getting gobbled up by the big boxes," he said.

Car dealerships can also gauge growth.

"When they have full lots and they're selling a lot of cars, that's disposable income that people are using," Vivian said. "When I see the car dealerships moving a lot of cars off their lots and immediately replacing them, I know the economy is real good."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this story.



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