By Lauren Cabral

Killeen Daily Herald

LAMPASAS - Lampasas received two awards from the Texas Department of Agriculture designating it as one of the state's hardest-working rural communities, and one of its most desirable places to retire.

Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples made a visit to Lampasas City Hall Tuesday to present 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 TDA 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. "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 or (254) 501-7476.

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