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Polk County Enterprise - Local News
Stories Added - Thursday, February 28, 2008
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company

Certified retirement communities draw dollars
Polk County Enterprise - February 2008
BY VALERIE REDDELL, Editor

LIVINGSTON – Commissioners Ronnie Vincent and Bob Willis were named to a committee to study Polk County’s possible participation in a Texas Department of Agriculture Program designating certain areas as Certifi ed Retirement Communities. The certifi cation process includes completion of a lengthy application that could require a committee an estimated six months to complete, said Kelly Ritch, director of the Polk County Industrial Development Corporation. The application process address several areas including the community’s crime index, long-term care facilities, the ratio of physicians and pharmacies to the population and the availability of 24-hour emergency care, Ritch said. Linda Parker with the Texas Department of Agriculture told commissioners she is a veteran of the application process, earning Lufkin the claim to one of only nine certifi ed retirement communities in Texas.

Communities who earn the designation are actively promoted by Department of Agriculture, Parker said. “We prepare rack cards (that are distributed at “welcome centers” on all major highways entering Texas), there’s a website and other promotional materials that also encourage people to retire in Texas,” Parker said. The process of drafting the application creates a good strategic plan for the community to attract retirees. It takes a gigantic team effort, but gives the community a chance to build tourism among the segment of the population with the greatest amount of disposable income – highly educated retirees, according to Parker. Commissioners also unanimously approved a contract for architectural services related to the jail expansion project during Tuesday’s meeting.

The contract provides for fees for architectural services at just under 9 percent since the project will require a mixture of new construction and renovation of existing jail facilities, County Judge John Thompson said.

The services will be provided by Gary Adams of Adams and Associates in Longview, who also prepared a facility needs assessment for nearby Houston County and is involved in jail planning for Walker County. Commissioners also approved a one-step process for selecting a construction manager at risk for the jail project and will issue a request for proposals for review by a committee appointed by the court. A building on the southeast corner of the site of the new Polk County Judicial Center is slated for demolition by county work crews, after a unanimous vote Tuesday. Preliminary plans had called for the structure to be used for storage during the construction and renovation of the center, but Thompson said Tuesday that officials had determined it would be better to raze the building prior to beginning construction.

A new phone system was also approved for the sub-courthouse in Onalaska. “We’re asking for the minimum upgrade,” Pct. 2 Commissioner Ronnie Vincent said. “The string isn’t worn out, but we need a couple of new cans on each end.” The system upgrade will be paid for out of the general fund balance to be repaid by a reimbursement resolution.


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