August 5, 2008

Celebrating Retirement: Odessa Named a Retirement Community

By Geoff Folsom, Odessa American, Texas

Aug. 5--When asked what the application process was like for Odessa to become a Texas Certified Retirement Community, Jim Rector dropped a 4-inch thick spiral-bound notebook on the podium in the City Council Chambers at Odessa City Hall.

"You can write this down for yourself," said Rector, chairman of the committee that used 72 volunteers to put together an application for the Texas Department of Agriculture to review.

The book covered 25 topics, took 13 months to put together and consisted of "I don't have a clue, several hundred" pages, Rector said.

But the work paid off with Odessa being named the largest community in the state and first in West Texas to be named a Certified Retirement Community.

"We never had to redo anything or answer any questions," Rector said.

The designation means the Odessa Chamber of Commerce will have a link on the agriculture department's retirement website, which will lead prospective retirees to information about the city, chamber chairman David Boutin said.

Along with Odessa'a climate and healthcare facilities, Boutin said the revamped Ratliff Ranch Golf Links and the Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center would lure retirees.

"It demonstrates to the state that we measure up, and it gives a very modern vehicle for retirees to be directed to Odessa," Boutin said.

Mayor Larry Melton said the designation, which the city applied for in April, is a result of Odessa coming to the forefront in several areas.

"Our doors are open, and we welcome all those who find Odessa a great place to retire," he said.

Rector said a "minimum" of 10 to 15 retirees are likely to move to Odessa annually because of the designation, which will help with the economy and workforce.

O.B. Cabett, 76, said he looks forward to being joined by fellow retirees.

"We don't have earthquakes. We're not flooded. We don't have to shovel snow, and we've got everything around us" he said. "It's good people."

Other Certified Retirement Communities in Texas





--Franklin County.




--Nacogdoches County.

--Panola County.


--San Augustine County.

--Shelby County.




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