If East Texas towns want to have a shot at being the best place to live in Texas, we can learn from the current winner.  There are a bunch of great ideas we can steal from Allen.

TIME Magazine says the Dallas-Fort Worth suburb of Allen is the best place to live in Texas, mainly because of its income, job market, and school system.  The population of Allen is about 96,000, and the growth over the past few years has brought with it a ton of new stores and restaurants.

TIME says Allen saw $1.6 billion of development breaking ground in 2017 alone, with huge new shopping centers and master-planned apartment communities.  The Allen school district has been ranked as one of the best in the state, and students usually post test scores that are above state averages in reading and math.

So, what's East Texas gotta do to land a city among the best of the best?  There's nothing wrong with what we've got now because we're happy and we've got great barbecue and the kids are rockin' little league, but if we want to gain national attention it seems like job growth is the best way to do that.  Housing is affordable here for the most part, but if we can attract big companies and create new jobs and get the money flowing even more, that usually starts a spiral of interest from company after company and leads to booming growth.  It's a little too late to land the new Amazon headquarters, but there will be others.

And schools.  East Texas kids are smart, but continuing to find ways to boost test scores helped Allen and it can help us too.  And then highlight the outstanding scholars that we do have.

Mama always said happiness isn't about being "the best," but there's something to be said about getting close to the top five.  Think we'll see Lufkin or Nacogdoches as the best place to live in Texas next year?  It can happen.  In the meantime, just be happy.  We got good barbecue!

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