The San Augustine community is now the eighth community in the state to be certified as a retirement community.
Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples addressed a room of 108, mostly San Augustine residents. Being named a certified retirement community could bring lots of dollars to San Augustine. Staples said tourism in Texas adds $49-billion a year in terms of economic impact.
Staples said, "The retirement market offers so much as far as jobs and economic impact for the East Texas area. San Augustine County has identified their resources as their assets and has made a long term commitment to market themselves for this enormous amount of economic powerhouse."
A group of 25 to 30 residents filled out an application involving 12 different categories. The application took about six weeks to complete. Several other east Texas communities have been designated certified retirement communities as well, including Nacogdoches County, the cities of Lufkin, Athens, and Longview.
Staples said, "This puts East Texas on the map as a region. The more you set yourself a part and get attention. It's not only good for today, but for years to come."
It's the small town feel and friendly people that residents say makes San Augustine so unique.
Betty Oglesbee, a San Augustine resident, said, "We have this wonderful feeling of hospitality."
Liz Ware, with the San Augustine chamber of commerce, said, "We are the gateway to Texas history, and our friendly people."
Ware called it a "bluebird day" for San Augustine county.