A look at the big picture

Quality of Life

April 29, 2024
Staff Reports

Isn't it great to live in a community with so much happening, virtually all the time?

Believe it or not, there are a good number of communities across the country who would love to be positioned as Abilene is positioned. And when we stop and think about why we're doing so well, it doesn't take long for a long list to begin to form.

Think of it - businesses are thriving and are generally only limited by access to employees to help drive growth. But even then, we're still lucky - our workforce, by comparison, is in far better condition than many markets thanks in large part to the hard-working West Texans with a willingness to work. Add to that the presence of four universities and two colleges, innovative K-12 education, and thriving trades - Abilene remains very well competitively positioned.

Driving around our great city paints a similar picture, despite national challenges that could otherwise stifle a growth trajectory. There's growth and investment in just about every part of the city, and as frustrating as it can be for those who have to navigate or whose business access is impacted, those businesses still find ways to thrive.

All of us need to continue to seek out and support those businesses.

Think of Buffalo Gap Road and even the downtown.

Slated for completion in 2179 (kidding!), Buffalo Gap Road has been a handful. As was Rebecca Lane when it was a mess. But none of us can forget about all the businesses our friends and neighbors have in that area. It's up to us to help them.

Downtown is no different.

While many understand there will be pain points with the reconstruction and improvements to Cypress Street, what some may not know is that there is a positive net gain of public parking all around that area. It's okay for us to walk a little - it's worth it.

While the City of Abilene is leading the effort and communication around Streetscape, we all still have a role to play.

Cypress Street in its entirety is NOT closed. Help us let folks know. There are only two blocks that are closed for the first phase - from North 3rd (the Paramount Theater Block) to North 5th. The first two blocks (think Cypress Street Station) and the Northernmost block between 5th and 6th? Wide open. Plenty of parking.

One day, I'm going to take a map of the Mall of Abilene and overlay it on the downtown. I bet there's no more walking downtown than there is in the mall. And it's a fun, pedestrian-friendly environment.

Lots of good doesn't happen by accident. The number of people and organizations working together to make it so is astonishing. We have a pro-business local government and organizations and businesses who are deeply committed to building the best Abilene possible.

But their work is for naught if we don't all step up to do our parts to support our local businesses. It's rewarding. And not nearly as difficult as we sometimes pretend that it is.

See you by the orange barrels!