ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The growth of the economy typically relies on the growth of its population, which is one goal Colorado City and Mitchell County said they are pushing towards.

Colorado City’s population is around 4,000 people, but since the last census in 2020, they’ve seen a 1.6% population decrease.  

Mitchell County Judge Mark Merrell said over the past few years, due to the type of jobs that the city has to offer, much like oil and gas, those workers typically leave town after their work is done.  

“We need to continue to work to see what we can do to improve on our community and provide businesses and opportunities where people can stay here,” said Judge Merrell.  

Judge Merrell and the city said they are working to expand their resources in order to provide more jobs for those in the community. 

“The businesses like the hospital, the prison, and our schools are some of our largest employers that we have here, but we need to constantly look for new businesses to come in as well,” Judge Merrell explained.  

Although this 1.6% doesn’t seem like much, the decline is obvious in schools. When families leave, they take their children with them, potentially affecting the district’s funding. 

“We have seen this district, which is considered a 2A school district, at one time was probably 3A, or close to a 3A in terms of numbers. So, you probably had about 1,000 students at one time, and now we’ve seen that enrollment drop to about 875,” Colorado City ISD’s newest superintendent, Dr. Larry Polk told KTAB/KRBC. 

Dr. Polk said he believes that despite the low enrolment, it’s important to continue to provide a quality education for the students who are still in attendance.   

“Our goal is to, obviously, to get those numbers back up. Because what we know, is that there are powers in numbers. But, what the strategy in order to do that, is not so much ‘count the numbers,’ but make the numbers count,” Dr. Polk explained.  

Working towards turning the page and rewriting history, Judge Merrell said the city has already begun the process to recruit new businesses and industries.  

“Hopefully we’re going to see some growth. It’s something that we’re going to have to constantly work on, and try to get our population up even higher,” Judge Merrell added.