LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - By Holley Nees - email
LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - Angelina County Judge Wes Suiter looks over the newly released 2010 census numbers.
"We're a little discouraged, you know, we were hoping for, I was hoping for about 90,000," he said.
Only modest growth for the county. About 6,000 people.
Lufkin grew by about 2,000 residents, still it's unlikely to become a metropolitan area.
"We've heard from people who have had to move in with their family out of town, trying to relocate to find some better paying jobs," Suiter said. "You know, we're a good service industry. We have lost though over the last 10 years in this last census era."
It's not for a lack of trying.
"We gave them every opportunity and I think if there's someone in Angelina County that didn't get counted, it's because they intentionally did not want to be counted," Suiter said.
Metro designation means some federal money comes automatically. Things like community development grants for housing projects and economic development dollars.
There's a lot of factors that go into being considered a Metropolitan Statistical Area. Cities outside Lufkin can be included in that count as long as those cities meet a minimum population requirement. For example, Hudson can be included but only if there's enough people along Highway 94 in between Lufkin and Hudson.
The magic number of 50,000 looks beyond reach, but Suiter isn't calling it quits.
"We'd have to make up probably 10,000, somewhere in there and it may be tough to do, but we haven't given up hope," Suiter said. "We're still looking and until the final numbers and we do the final compilation, we'll know more then."
All they can do is keep fighting for funding.