Community Coverage Tour: Facts about Lamesa, Texas

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 1:17 PM CDT
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LAMESA, Texas (KCBD) - The KCBD Community Coverage Tour is in Lamesa, Texas on Thursday, July 22, 2021. We are broadcasting from Forrest Park which features a playground, volleyball courts, softball fields and camping facilities.

The town is about an hour South of Lubbock. The city name was taken from the Spanish word mesa, meaning table-land, because of the town’s location on the plateau of the South Plains.

Like many small, West Texas towns, the land originally started as part of a ranch. The first school was opened in 1902 and daily mail service started in 1906. It was founded in 1903 and by 1925, the town was booming.

By 1925, you could find a new City Hall, water and sewage system, brick streets and the Downtown Square.

During World War II, Lamesa and Dawson County provided more men per capita for armed services than any other Texas county.

Most of the economy thrives on oil and farming. You can also find Preston E. Smith Prison Unit right outside of town.

According to the last census, the Dawson County seat is home to about 9,500 people.

The city of Lamesa was hit by a devastating storm in June 2021. Homes, streets and businesses were destroyed. About $10 million in damages were reported following the unprecedented weather. But the community has banded together to repair what was lost.

Mayor Josh Stevens says there has been some setbacks due to COVID and the devastating storm, which left their city with infrastructure issues, but says Lamesa has prevailed.

Restaurants and beauty shops closed at the height of the pandemic, but as soon as they were able, the mayor says the community was rallying around them, choosing to shop local to revitalize their economy.

He says the excitement he has for the future of Lamesa is contagious.

“Every small community is gonna have some difficulty in that but Lamesa sits in the middle of everywhere. We have six major arteries and we’re in the middle of Lubbock and Midland Odessa. The oilfield is right at our doorstep to the south now, so we have quite a few new oil companies, logistic companies, just because of the North, South, East and west coming directly out of Lamesa,” he said.

Mayor Stevens says the city is also working to revitalize the downtown area. He says they’re cleaning up store fronts and opening up old, unused buildings for new business. For anyone looking to move in, there are already a few new neighbors.

“We’re actually working on a Downtown revitalization program downtown that we’re hoping kicks off pretty soon. We’re gonna have a new One Guy from Italy on the square - that’s a big deal. We’re pretty excited about that Domino’s is about to open up shop here in Lamesa. So you know some of those things big cities are accustomed to, we’re getting a piece of those as well and that’s good for the community.”

Mayor Stevens says although they’re just beginning to put the pieces together on this project, he has high hopes and expectations.

Karin Mize, President of the Lamesa Area Chamber of Commerce, is ready to welcome any new business wanting to call Lamesa home.

Not only does the Chamber support local business, but hosts a number of local events to bring the community together. Mize says there is plenty of space for new-comers in Lamesa’s downtown area, and plenty of interest in the spots as well.

Some want to use the bones of the old buildings to make something new, and some want to build from the ground up. She says both are okay, and they’re ready for new opportunities.

“We are business friendly here. We love having new businesses in the area. We’ve had a couple open in the last couple of months. A new coffee shop is coming to town. We’re real excited to get new businesses in our community for people that live here. If anyone is interested, we’d love to talk to them. We can show them around and answer their questions - anything that they need.”

Mize says her greatest accomplishment is being a part of the community and helping local businesses’ dreams coming to life.

Part of a growing community means law enforcement is on hand to keep the city of Lamesa safe.

There are 14 patrol officers in the city.

Police Chief Josh Peterson says the citizens help out enormously and always keeps the officers up to day on what’s happening in the community.

He says one of their main goals, aside from protection, is to make the town greater than it already is.

“We encourage the officers to reach out. We do law enforcement day at the local Boys and Girls Club. We’ve engaged in several activities at the county library, reading to kids. We also read to kids at the elementary school. We have school resource officers and also coordinate law enforcement classes in the high school. Just little things like that to be involved. Just getting out in the community, talking to kids, even with the adults. Being there for them to forge those relationships is the goal of this administration.”

Chief Peterson says he knows Lamesa has incredible potential and can’t wait to be a part of the future of the city.

You may not know it, but Lamesa ISD, home of the Golden Tornadoes, was named one of the top 10 high schools in the area, out of any classification.

Each year the school hosts college signing day, and most recently, 90 percent of the senior class committed to a university. Lamesa offers state of the art CTE classes: welding, cosmetology, health sciences and more.

Superintendent Jim Knight says it’s unlike any school he’s served.

“I’ve been at a lot of school districts, but the blue collar work nature of our community, the fact that our kids just love what you do for them, and love that our teachers are so invested in our kids. We’ve got a motto here of ‘love kids, work hard, and be coachable.’ I feel like all of our community adheres to that that’s one of the reasons this community is just such a great place to be.”

The school is also working on a new $14 million gym.

At Forrest Park, on July 24, 2021, the Hope for Lamesa event will take place with one goal: Love God and love people.

One of the organizers, Lamesa Pastor Jeremiah Aguayo says even though they’ve been doing the event for a few years now, what Lamesa has gone through has really changed their perspective. And now they want the event to be bigger than ever.

He says Hope for Lamesa couldn’t happen last year due to COVID, so they prayed this year for guidance and now God is turning a storm into a story.

“Something powerful happened after the storm, days after the tornado hit. People came together and people were getting their chainsaws and trailers and helping out their neighbors. They didn’t just sit around, they actually did something so that’s what Hope for Lamesa is for us,” he said.

The community-wide, family event will feature ministers, worship teams, a Christian rapper and free tacos for all who attend. Aguayo calls it a church without walls.

The event will begin at 5 p.m. at Forrest Park in Lamesa.

Since 1949, and even in the year of the pandemic, Lamesa has hosted a rodeo and this year is no different.

This year will mark the 72nd Annual Rodeo, complete with all of your favorite events, food vendors, country music performances and a dance on that Friday and Saturday night.

Cody King, President of the Lamesa Rodeo Association, says the storm that ravaged Lamesa has set them back a bit. But now it is crunch time.

With the help of the community, you will be able to count on the bulls and broncs to enter the ring in August.

“Its just gonna set our plans back. We’ve got a lot more to do than we originally thought we would. It’s a lot to do whenever you don’t have that storm come through that washed a bunch of stuff from in town - everything drains through this area. And with that much water, it pretty much turned our arena into a river bed. So we’ve got to get all that back in order, but it should be able to be done.”

If you want to attend the three-day rodeo, it will be on August 5, 6, and 7. The admission is $10 per person.

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