NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The Angelina River marks the boundary between Nacogdoches and Angelina Counties. There are natives who say crossing the bridge is passage into a place far different than home.
Chamber CEOs from both communities prefer pointing out similarities in the quest for collaboration.
"Regionalism is going to be the key to the future," said Jim Johnson, the CEO and president of the Lufkin and Angelina County Chamber. "Each town can always have their own identity. Each town can always have their own story, but together we can see some changes that are always positive."
Nacogdoches County Chamber CEO Wayne Mitchell summed it up.
"We are partners in progress," Mitchell said.
An essential mindset for both communities says economic developers.
"We gain more from collaboration and working together," Mitchell said. "We can pool our resources. We all have relationships that can help each other."
The collaboration is leading to infrastructure improvements, meeting legislative needs, and education partnerships. Johnson told a Nacogdoches crowd that many Texas communities are profiting from such collaboration.
"Houston-Galveston County, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Austin-San Antonio," Johnson said. "Those words come together. They don't look at each other's problems. They look at each other as a true region and a true partner."
Johnson says rapid residential growth toward the river would expedite a well-recognized Lufkin-Nacogdoches region. Currently, the communities' physical growth continues in opposite directions.
Both chambers say they will continue dialogue with one another. The conversations have also extended to other chambers and economic developers in the Deep East Texas Region