All over the city of Lufkin new businesses are being built, but most of the construction is on highway 59 south and the loop while historic downtown is seeing little growth. "As far as the development on 59, I think that is something that is going to be good for Lufkin, but is going to detour the traffic away from downtown, but that's something main street and downtown has been used to dealing with. It's just another bump in the road," says Barbara Thompson.
Barbara Thompson is the Main Street director, and she's excited business owners like Mark Hicks see this bump in the road as opportunity. "I've actually started out renovating two buildings and I'm starting on my third one right now. It's proved to be successful. I've been able to rent spaces out in the building," says Mark Hicks.
Hicks realizes the importance of development on the outskirts of town but he believes more emphasis should be put on the downtown area. "There is a lot of potential in downtown and other areas of Lufkin. I hate to see a vacant building. I would like to see more of these chain stores coming in to think about locating more inside the city," says Hicks.
Thompson says the struggle with reviving downtown is not going unnoticed. "We are doing that now by talking to consultants to tell us better ways we can improve and enhance the downtown," she says. Some enhancements have already been made to the downtown area to improve parking.