Bright future depends on us
So, when I set out to do a story such as the one on the front page about the economic outlook for Port Aransas, I’m looking for people who will tell it like it is and not candy-coat the truth to make things look good when, in fact, they’re not. And, I’m not looking for the Eeyores of the world whose glass is always half-empty no matter how good it gets.
I’m looking for “just the facts, ma’am.”
As I talked to a variety of business people in town, I didn’t detect a Pollyanna or an Eeyore in the bunch. (Which does not mean everyone I did not talk to is a Pollyanna or an Eeyore!)
What I did detect was a feeling of calm confidence from every sector of the community I surveyed.
No, we’re not in a boom. But we’re not busted, by any means - far from it.
Texas, of course, has not been as hard-hit by the recession as the rest of the country – a reverse of the 1980s when it felt more like a depression than a recession here, and the rest of the country was only mildly impacted by comparison.
Talking to retailers, Realtors, developers and those in the hospitality industry, I picked up on a sense of well-being among all of them. Improved bottom lines certainly play a part in that, and the fact that, historically, a strong spring is followed by a strong summer. Also, while we all pay the price at the pump, high gas prices often have brought people to Port Aransas who might otherwise have chosen a more distant destination.
We may still be feeling the effects of having been discovered by vacationers who visited South Padre Island before Hurricane Dolly in 2008, and before that coastal community’s proximity to the Mexican border became a drawback rather than an asset. Also, vacationers who once spent their summers in Galveston may have found us after Hurricane Ike. It’s sad to be the beneficiary of another community’s misfortune, and we should not take satisfaction from that. It could be our turn to send vacationers to those destinations one day as a result of an unfortunate storm.
Port Aransas’ economy is dependent on tourism that can swing high and low with the pendulums of weather and the economy, neither of which we can control.
What we can control – at least to a certain degree -- is how we respond to the fluctuations.
If the stars are lining up to put Port Aransas in a good position to reap a profitable summer, we have to do the best job possible to take care of our summer guests. The last thing we want to happen is for our guests to leave here with a bad taste in their mouths so that if the weather and the economy turn against us, they don’t.
Mary Henkel Judson is editor and copublisher of the South Jetty. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, (361) 749-5131 or P.O. Box 1117, Port Aransas, TX 78373.