a thriving city with small town texas charm
Brimming with Texas hospitality, Andrews, Texas is poised for impressive economic growth
Andrews, Texas, is a dynamic city, nestled in the heart of the Permian Basin. Known for its rich oil and gas industry, Andrews has a thriving economy and is home to a close-knit community of just over 14,000. With its wide-open spaces and friendly atmosphere, the city offers a unique blend of small-town charm and modern amenities.
Steve Eggleston, City Manager describes the evolution of the thriving community, which was founded on oil and gas. He says, “In its earlier days, Andrews County was the number one oil-producing county in the world, and at that time a lot of the major oil companies had large regional offices here. That happened to be at a time when the city was being established, and these very wise and intelligent executives helped form the city, design the city, set up the city’s bylaws, its charter; establishing an incredible groundwork for the future of Andrews.” He maintains that the vision of these founding members is what has brought Andrews to the well-established and forward-thinking community that it is today, suggesting that their foresight has allowed the city to uphold financial stability without incurring excessive debt, setting it apart from neighboring areas.
Andrews may no longer be the largest oil-producing county, but its service industries ensure a resilient economy that isn’t solely dependent on oil prices. Eggleston elaborates, “A lot of the oil and gas service companies are stationed out of Andrews County, so we don’t necessarily see the wide swings that some of our neighbors do. Our economy remains fairly stable for the oil and gas industry, which makes us unique in West Texas.” With a population of just over 14,000 Andrews also has a unique range of other industries, including Kirby Vacuum Cleaners, with one of their two U.S. manufacturing facilities in the city, and a low-level radioactive waste site, which is located in the county.
As the sole city in Andrews County, Eggleston notes that Andrews has an outstanding relationship with Andrews County, the Andrews School District, and the local hospital, Permian Regional Medical Center. He admits that having these relationships contributes to the success of Andrews, relaying, “We all get along well, therefore we can get a lot done because we’re not having to fight with other entities to get what we need.”
Economic Development Director Morse Haynes shares that the city’s two existing business parks are almost at capacity, and a third park is currently in development. A $1.5 million grant from the EDA has been awarded to the community, and Haynes says that this will help to get the project off the ground.
As for what types of businesses the parks are attracting, he reports, “It’s mainly small manufacturers. Small to medium-sized companies, anywhere from 10 to 50 employees is what we target. We try to diversify and bring something here that is not tied to the oid field, but then at the end of the day, the oil industry provides 90% of our jobs. That’s our bread and butter.” With this in mind, Andrews has worked to make the city a hub for the oil field companies that are spread throughout West Texas, incentivizing them to locate their headquarters in the community.
As a city experiencing growth, Andrews has recognized a need for more diverse housing options. Although several custom builders are bringing high-quality homes to the community, Haynes says that the challenge is in providing entry-level residences that are affordable for first-time home buyers. “We need a little bit smaller home, maybe on smaller lots,” he explains.
“We still want quality, because we consider ourselves a town of quality.” A developer has expressed interest in meeting this demand, bringing 120 residential lots to the city, which will be built 10 at a time. Eggleston says the city council has also approved a Chapter 380 agreement aimed at incentivizing the construction of entry-level homes. Under this agreement, Andrews will provide infrastructure funding for development projects that meet the criteria established by the City Council. This initiative is hoped to attract more housing development, and is significant for future growth, as Eggleston points out, “The Economic Development Corporation did a housing study, and it was realized that we were losing a lot of potential residents because they don’t have a place to stay.”
Infrastructure upgrades are a top priority in Andrews, and the city has budgeted $30 million over the next ten years for this agenda. One project will include the replacement of a pipeline connected to an aquifer that is seven miles away. “We have two pipelines, and we’re replacing one of them this fall because it’s 50 years old, has quite a few leaks, and it’s not big enough to meet the needs of our community,” Eggleston elaborates. “So, we’re replacing that in the fall with a seven-mile water line that is much larger. That will give us more capacity.” In addition, the city is drilling new wells to be ready to meet the needs of future growth and replacing all water and sewer lines over the next several decades. “That had been sort of neglected over the past several years, and we’re trying to get all of our infrastructure in a good state,” he acknowledges.
On the traffic side, an outer loop around the community was recently constructed, redirecting large oil company trucks away from the city, while preserving the condition of local roads and providing safety for citizens. Andrews has also purchased 100 acres of land to be used for future landfill, as the current site approaches capacity. Additionally, updates to city buildings are underway, including the construction of a new city hall and the purchase of a building that will be converted into a new municipal courthouse. The existing city hall will be renovated to accommodate the growing police department, which will utilize the space for community services.
In partnership with internet provider Windstream, Andrews has secured high-speed fiber throughout the city, a necessary step that was recognized during COVID. Eggleston recounts, “We realized that a lot of the students and teachers didn’t have adequate internet abilities to do the work that needed to be done. We reacted to that by doing this.” Attracting new residents was also a goal of this initiative, especially those who work from home, and would be drawn to the top-notch school district and the high quality of life Andrews has to offer. “We want to tout Andrews as being 100% capable of providing high-speed fiber internet to anyone in the city limits,” he says.
Of course, prospective residents will also be captivated by Andrews’ picturesque landscape, characterized by its expansive and open surroundings. As well, both the city and county boast an impressive parks system, offering amenities such as bike trails, walking trails, a dog park, and covered playground facilities. Efforts have been made to create more opportunities for outdoor exercise, including the recent addition of pickleball courts and outdoor fitness equipment, providing a perfect opportunity to engage in physical activities amidst the natural beauty of the city. Andrews is also home to Andrews County Golf Course, which Eggleston says is, “one of the best courses in West Texas.”
Looking to the future, Haynes emphasizes the commitment to make Andrews the premier location for residents seeking employment and a high quality of life, while Eggleston identifies three key areas of focus moving forward. He says the first two priorities revolve around water infrastructure, highlighting the upgrades to the seven-mile water line and its importance as the lifeblood of the community, along with updated distribution lines to households.
As for the third priority he expresses, “We’re proud of what’s going on with the city hall and the municipal court and we look forward to seeing what happens with our police department. We want to take care of our employees, and we’re looking forward to building something that our city can be proud of.”
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AT A GLANCE
What: A vibrant city in West Texas built on oil and gas
Where: Andrews County, Texas