LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The city of Lufkin has come along way from it's small beginnings on a timber rail line in the late 1882. Now the city is looking to the future.
A lot has changed behind the pine curtain since Lufkin leaders last put a plan together looking at future growth.
"Back then we did not even have the internet to speak of when we put our last plan together," City Manager Keith Wright said.
With the world changing on a daily basis local leaders are trying to keep up. Today, a room at the convention center in downtown Lufkin was packed with city leaders and community members that have been put on a special steering committee that is working with a consulting firm that will help shape the future vision.
"We want to do that in a holistic manner where we look at all parts of the community," Wright said. "It's with all different cultures and how we all work together to accomplish a common goal. "
Wright and others at the meeting acknowledged that the future of industrial growth will be different.
"We are looking at industry," Wright said. "We will need to look at other areas as well."
Lufkin Councilwoman Guessipina Bonner said a recent trip to Pittsburgh showed her how a city can rebound.
"America can no longer depend on one industry to bring the money in that is needed for a community," Bonner said. "They almost shut down there but they were able to reuse the abandoned buildings and property to make the community better."
The plan is in the development stage with the city trying to promote their resources to outside businesses and communicate with their residents.
Everything from the city parks, transportation issues, future job growth and healthcare will be considered in the new project. Bonner believes the change must first start in the neighborhoods on a small scale before growing out.
"What I really want is city Christmas lights on the north side of town." Bonner said. "Residents put some up but there is nothing inviting from the city. We have to start small. We are going to build and we are going to grow and clean up and all of that but just do little steps for little things at first."
Wright said the city is now looking to the residents as the building blocks on that future.
"There's no bad statement," Wright said. "Whatever you think the city needs to move towards and how we do that. Understand that it's not just the city and city government. It's all the community working together to accomplish this goal."
The members of the committee will be hosting a town hall meeting on March 9 at Lufkin High School starting at 5:30 pm. Wright said everyone is welcomed to attend. Wright said there is plans to have meetings in individual wards as well.