The Heart of Texas region is made up of 6 counties: Bosque, Falls, Freestone, Hill, Limestone, and McLennan, and has a population of about 366,000 people. The region consists of over 50 municipalities and more than 100 communities, covering about 5,648 square miles. Conveniently located between Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, the region’s emerging role as a manufacturing, production, warehouse, distribution, and logistics hub is supported by an available workforce, land space, freeways, and access to airports, rails, and shipping ports.
The Heart of Texas region is heavily agricultural. Five of its six counties are considered “small” by federal standards and are classified as 100% rural. McLennan County, the largest of the 6 counties, has a strong industrial and commercial center in the City of Waco with smaller industrial and commercial centers in Hillsboro in Hill County and Mexia in Limestone County.
Historically, the Heart of Texas region was heavily dependent on jobs and revenue from coal, oil, and gas. Recently, however, there has been a shift away from fossil fuels, and the closure of Big Brown Coal plant left the region with an economic gap. Because the region has a skilled manufacturing workforce, and is conveniently located in central Texas, with easy access to the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country— Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio — there are opportunities to diversify the economy. The region can do so by attracting manufacturing and production facilities and becoming a hub for warehouse, distribution, logistics and supply centers. The abundance of land, and a climate suitable for wind energy has also brought renewable energy in the form of wind and solar farms, creating alternate sources of energy, revenue, and jobs in the region.
The Heart of Texas region is in transition and poised for growth. Not only are new industries flocking to the area, helping the economy to rebound from losses in oil and gas jobs, but investments in infrastructure and retail and entertainment centers are making the largest city, Waco, a destination. With a concerted economic development strategy, it will be possible to maximize opportunities and attract transformational investment to the area.
Contact Dorthy Jackson at 254-292-1874 for additional project information.