One East Texas town is hoping an oil boom will boost its economy. An old refinery is scheduled to be moved from Longview to the outskirts of New London, in Rusk County. County officials are expecting the new business to create a boom town, like that of the 1930's, when the first oil boom hit East Texas.
"You went from nothing to everything," said London Museum Director, Miles Toler. "They built some refineries, but mainly the production was here and jobs were offered and it really brought an influx of people into East Texas."
Toler says the industry died down in the 1960's and with it, went most of the economy. He says, what once was one of the richest school district's in the country, is now in desperate need of renovations.
"It's been a lot of excitement for this area because we've had nothing since the oil started going away," said Toler. "So it's going to be a godsend financially for the area."
The immediate economic impact of the project is estimated at nearly $4 million and town officials say over the next decade, the refinery could reach $8 billion. West Rusk school officials say the tax dollars generated from the new refinery will have a tremendous impact on the district, which is already making huge improvements.
The district is currently working on improvements to some campuses, including building a new football stadium and cafeteria at the high school. Those projects were funded by a $15 million bond. Officials say, they can only begin to imagine what other improvements can be made, once the refinery is built.
"Money wise, it's almost incomprehensible, it's almost too good to be true," said Tommy Alexander, superintendent of West Rusk County Consolidated School District. "The district will be able to do some things over the next 10 years that would never have been able to get done, without this (the refinery) coming on board."
West Rusk school officials say they expect their district's value to increase over the next three years as the refinery is built. They anticipate the increase to go from $500 million to $2 billion.
The refinery project is scheduled to begin his fall and construction should be complete in two year. About 300 employees will be contracted to build the facilities. Once built, nearly 100 full time employees will be staffed to run the refinery. It's expected to process 30,000 barrels a day of light sweet crude to produce gasoline and diesel fuel.