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Abilene leaders begin planning for Cline Shale Oil Play boom

By Mari Cockerell, mcockerell@ktxs.com
Published On: May 23 2013 01:02:02 PM CDT
Updated On: May 23 2013 06:14:12 PM CDT
ABILENE, Texas -

Inside a conference room at McMurry University on Thursday sat dozens of Abilene's leaders who are coming together to form the Cline Shale Consortium.

It's a group of people who will strategically plan how Abilene will accommodate the boom heading our way from the Cline Shale Oil Play.

It's the rush of growth happening in West Texas as developers use new technology to access oil and gas under ground.

Midland/Odessa, Colorado City, Sweetwater – they're all seeing the boom first hand; the need for housing, skilled workers, even retail needs.

"What you're seeing is a demand for these types of resources that are going to be in short supply ... and how we strategize and develop solutions to take care of these problems is important that we do this now," said Steve Collins with Workforce Commission of West Texas Board.

The Consortium’s purpose is not only planning to handle the growth, but also, what to do with it so to ensure the boom doesn't leave us with a bust down the road.

"I think people will be more attuned to planning for the future, so we don't have a bunch of people come in and be gone and wonder why did we build all these apartments or why did we do all these things and leave it hanging? The bust is a bust when it happens," said Abilene Mayor Norm Archibald.

According to the Cline Shale Consortium plan of action, no later than September 30, 2013, leaders aim to have a plan that will address four areas of concern: education and workforce development, oil and gas industry, community and economic development, and infrastructure and natural resources.

The consortium will be financed through the Texas Workforce Commission and community partners across the Big Country.