Herald/Lauren Cabral - Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples presents Lampasas Mayor Judith Hetherly with two awards Tuesday at Lampasas City Hall. The city was recognized as a GO TEXAN Certified Retirement Community and received a 2010 Hardworking Rural Community Shining Star award.

By Lauren Cabral

Cove Herald

LAMPASAS - Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples on Tuesday presented Mayor Judith Hetherly with a certificate designating the city as a GO TEXAN Certified Retirement Community, as well as a 2010 Hardworking Rural Community Shining Star Award.

"I applaud Mayor Hetherly and the team that has worked hard to go after these recognitions, which are very competitive," Staples said.

He noted Lampasas has demonstrated exceptional job capacity, developing a local economy and many educational opportunities, all things the Texas Department of Agriculture looks for when choosing communities for its awards.

Hetherly said this was the first year the city had applied for either designation, and both distinctions were important for Lampasas.

"It means economic development," she said of the awards. "It's just a great day for the city."

The Shining Star Award was given to 10 Texas communities, and Lampasas ranked first among them. The awards are part of TDA's efforts to market and promote rural Texas while raising public awareness of efforts to boost tourism, job growth, community development and other economic opportunities.

The CRC program helps communities attract retirees and potential retirees to make their homes in Texas.

Lampasas was named the 31st community to receive the certification in February. Staples said Texas ranks second in the nation for retirement destinations, and retirees spend an average of $42,500 annually in their communities.

Town leaders believe the CRC will bring benefits to the area. "I do believe the TDA has done more for rural economic development than I've seen any other TDA do," Hetherly said. "They're the ones coming up with the projects to bring focus to the cities."

Contact Lauren Cabral at lcabral@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7476.

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