Moving, especially to a new city can be both an exciting and stressful time. Believe me, I know. Maybe a job transfer brought you to Waco. Perhaps you’re attending Baylor. Maybe you lived the fast paced life in them there “big cities” and now you want to slow down and retire. Maybe you just need a change of scenery! In any case, Waco, Texas really does have a lot to offer.
Of course, when I say “Waco”, that includes the surrounding communities of Hewitt, Woodway, Robinson, Lorena, China Spring, and all of McLennan County. Some of this information was obtained from the Waco Chamber of Commerce, a great resource if you’re moving to the Waco-area. As always, if you have specific questions regarding the Waco area that we haven’t answered with this website, please email or call anytime (254) 498-4276.
Why Move to Waco?
Well, why the heck not? Just kidding. There are actually a ton of reasons to move to Waco, but I’ll touch on just a few of them for now. Some of the benefits of living in Waco:
Cost of Living
Proximity to DFW and Austin
Traffic (or lack thereof compared to places like Dallas)!
Indoor Plumbing (again, kidding)
Cost of Living in Waco
Cost of living for McLennan County is lower than the national average. From various sources – Cost of Living Index is about 84 (100 being national average).
The average price for homes in McLennan County was $133,938 for the year 2007.
In 2007, the average price for new home construction was $184,907
Proximity to… Everything
You know what they always say… “location, location, location”! Waco has got a great one. McLennan County is smack dab in the middle between Dallas-Ft. Worth and Austin. It’s only about an hour and a half drive to either city. Those 2 cities have everything from museums, zoos, great shopping, upscale restaurants, amusement parks, night life, big events, and more. Of course, Waco has plenty of that too, but with such little distance between Waco, one of Texas’ largest cities, and the state capital, it’s easy to make a day trip to “get out of town” on occasion.
Expansion and Growth
Waco seems to be really growing over the last few years! From new outdoor malls, to restaurants, new employers, healthcare expansion, a ton of new road construction, and, well of course, a lot of new home construction, Waco is “gearing up” for a real ‘boom’. Just some of the new projects for the area:
Converting old warehouse space into new trendy lofts for rent and sale
60+ million dollar mixed-use development downtown that will have offices, retail space, restaurants, etc, contributing to Waco’s downtown revitalization project already underway
New 368 unit student housing project targeting Baylor students
Announcement of multi-million dollar luxury retirement community just west of Waco in the City of Woodway. There will be 3 levels care: independent residential living, assisted living, and skilled nursing care.
Developer Rick Sheldon has revealed his vision for a Lake Brazos project that would include a domed stadium, bridge, hotels, restaurants, and marina
Brand new Hillcrest Hospital located at I-35 and Hwy 6, which will anchor a new mixed-use development called Legends Crossing. The Hillcrest Health System will occupy 74 acres, contain a women’s and children’s pavilion, long-term acute care hospital, in patient rehabilitation center, cancer center, and create more than 300 new jobs.
Many more expansion projects from companies like: Caterpillar, Sanderson Farms, Blackhawk, Coca Cola, CenTex Aerospace, Texas Farm Bureau, L3 Communications, and more!
McLennan County has 20 school districts with a student population of over 40,000, more than a dozen private schools and 3 charter schools. School districts such as Midway, Robinson, Lorena, China Spring, Crawford, and others, get high marks from both parents and the Texas Education Agency. The Midway ISD is set to build 2 more schools due to demand.
Baylor University, a Big 12 school, calls Waco home. For Spring 2007, Baylor had a student enrollment of over 13,000. They have 74 master’s degree programs, 22 doctoral programs, 4 professional development programs, 2 educational specialist programs, a juris doctorate program, and a doctor of ministry program. Don’t forget the success of the Lady Bears basket ball team too!
McLennan Community College has called Waco home for more than 40 years! In 2006, voters passed a new bond to fund new science and classroom buildings and an emergency services center. MCC is a 2 year school providing workforce training, as well as continuing education courses and 1 and 2 year Associate degrees for transfer to a four year school.
Texas State Technical College has more than 4,000 students enrolled for hi-tech education and training. Waco boasts the largest campus for the TSTC system, more than 100 Associate of Applied Science degrees and Certificates of Completion in fields ranging from aircraft mechanics to computer sciences to digital media.
Traffic and Transportation
The traffic situation (or lack thereof) for Waco is actually pretty good! Although traffic has increased over the last few years, the Waco area has been able to keep up. It’s kind of funny really, it seems no matter where you are, you can get anywhere in the area within 15-20 minutes. Funny I mean, if your across town and need to get to Hewitt, there ya’ go 15-20 minutes. Even if you need to go two blocks, there ya’ go 15-20 minutes! Can’t figure it out really (actually just kidding). Recent road construction projects include:
New over-pass and increased lanes at Hwy 6 and I-35 to accommodate all the new development in that area.
New road connecting Hewitt Dr. to I-35
Numerous improvements at the Old Temple Rd. and Spring Valley intersection
New over-pass construction at Sun Valley and I-35
Numerous other projects in the works
Actually, I kind of get excited about new road construction for the area (when I’m not frustrated about being stuck because the right lane is closed). Usually road construction and expansion mean one thing and one thing only – Growth – in both industry and population.
I’ve heard it many times before that Texas has some of the best roads in the country, and Waco is no exception. From being able to get anywhere in a relatively short amount of time to taking a nice Sunday drive along the Central Texas back-roads, the traffic and transportation “situation” is something many of us here really appreciate!
The healthcare industry in Waco is really “buzzing”! Both major hospitals for the area are under major expansion and a there’s a growing workforce.
Waco has 2 nonprofit acute-care hospitals: Hillcrest Health System and Providence Healthcare Network.
As mentioned earlier, Hillcrest Health System is undergoing construction of a new hospital and healthcare complex that will sit on 74 acres at I-35 and Loop 340. The estimated date of completion is 2009.
Providence Healthcare Network, founded in 1904 by the Daughters of Charity, is undergoing a $48.5 million expansion. This will increase services throughout the hospital and add a new five-story building. It seems that Providence has been growing the last several years.
The Loop 340 area between Bosque Blvd. and I-35 has really exploded with healthcare related services that I call “The Medical Mile”: Dentists, family practitioners, medical equipment suppliers, eye centers and more, line the loop with services that should be able to meet your needs.
The VA Medical Center (in operation since 1932), also a top employer with almost 800 employees, is a major referral facility for acute, intermediate and long term psychiatric care for veterans. It’s a major part of the Central Texans Veterans Healthcare System.
The healthcare sector accounted for 15.1 percent of the workforce for Greater Waco in 2004 and is growing faster than the national rate, according to the Texas Workforce Commission