As many as 400 construction workers are coming to Brownwood to work on an oil pipeline planned to extend from Colorado City to Houston.
With some of the workers are already in town, Brownwood Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Emily Crawford said she has already seen a positive economic impact from their arrival.
"So far we are seeing increased orders for our manufacturers who fabricate for the oil and gas industry,” Crawford said, “as well as increased sales and service in the community by the number of workers who are here for the BridgeTex pipeline."
Additionally, Crawford said, "It's great to see the impact of having the additional workers in the community because they are shopping at our local businesses and definitely contributing to the economy, even though we realize it's short term."
Crawford said the workers will be in town for three to nine months.
From getting groceries and gas to staying at hotels and RV parks, construction workers are spending as much money as time in the Brownwood and Early areas.
Officials with businesses like Bob's Fuels and Underwood's restaurant attribute part of their success to these workers.
"We're always impacted by people coming through town or people coming to town to work," Underwood's co-manager Leo Underwood said.
"We get a lot of RV bottles come in. We fill them up at our RV station," Bob's Fuels manager John Gordon said.
Rick Newton, a manager for Bruner Auto Group in Brownwood, said he would love to see the workers stay longer than nine months because they make good customers.
"It's huge for this area," Newton said. "They're dropping thousands and thousands of dollars here every week."
Newton said he sold about seven vehicles to those working on the pipeline.
"They like the hometown, small dealership feeling,” Newton said. “One gentleman bought a truck from us, and even though he'll be in another city working, he said if he needed service, he'll be back. It makes us feel good.”
Newton said even convenience stores have seen an uptick in business with lottery ticket sales.
Crawford said, on average, the sales tax has increased by about 5 percent since the fall, which is, in part, thanks to the increased number of people in the community.
See here for more details on the BridgeTex Pipeline.