PEARSALL, TX – Oil booms typically bring temporary housing booms but Pearsall has a plan for the thousands of Eagle Ford Shale workers and their families to stay put.
In a town known for having the world's largest peanut, Pearsall is certainly making more than just peanuts off the oil boom.
This month alone, Pearsall raked in a half-million dollars more in sales taxes than it did this time last year.
“We’re glad the oil boom is here,” resident Rosalinda Onofre says.
She’s witnessed 30 years of change from her local hair salon.
“The town is growing,” she says.
It’s not just a snap judgment: she also owns an RV park.
"I have it all rented and I get calls all the time for more housing,” Onofre says.
City manager Florencio Sauceda says if the town wants oil workers and their families to stay, it needs more than mobile homes.
"Brick and mortar is what we need,” he says.
Sauceda says city hall is giving tax breaks to housing developers and investing eight million dollars in infrastructure to pave the way.
"It's money that we have borrowed to provide much-needed water capacity to build things such as what you see behind me,” he says, gesturing to a building under construction that will hold about 40 apartments.
Nearby, a subdivision of 280 homes is planned for an empty field.
Chesapeake Energy says soon, nearly 400 workers will live and work at a new facility next to its field office.
Back at the salon, Onofre wants a cut of the action, too.
"I'm working right now with an engineer on developing some more land for businesses,” she says.
But citing concerns the oil boom could dry up faster than predicted, city leaders are coming up with a 20-year contingency plan to deal with a possible overflow of housing.