The coronavirus and other things have made 2020 an interesting year so far, but not all of the changes the new year has brought have been negative.

It seems like there’s construction all over town.

In fact, after years of work by Kilgore City Council members to make the city more attractive, a number of commercial businesses have shown interest in expanding into Kilgore.

According to Kilgore City Manager Josh Selleck, five new commercial businesses have shown interest in opening up new locations in Kilgore.

“(2020) really has been a great year as far as commercial businesses finally taking notice of what Kilgore has to offer,” Selleck said. “We have some council members that have been working for the last 12 years to improve the quality of life and the general appearance of the city.”

Among the businesses planning to expand into the city are Dairy Queen, Popeyes and Daiquiri Express.

Selleck said that two other businesses have also shown interest, although those plans have not yet been announced officially.

He said that the new Daiquiri Express is the farthest along in the construction process, which is in the midst of the physical construction of the new location. Selleck explained that the new Popeye’s location (on Highway 259, at the site of the former Jack In The Box restaurant) began demolition work last week, and the new Dairy Queen, which will be located at 1101 E Lantrip St., is in the process of doing site work, as was chronicled in the News Herald last week.

“I know that when all of them began the plan was to get them done as soon as possible,” Selleck said. “But with the outbreak of the COVID-19 it has definitely made getting things to go through a lot slower, and so has slowed down a number of these projects timelines.”

Selleck also said that the other two businesses who are waiting on the process to open new locations in the city are working on site preparations and taking other steps.

“I am very confident that all five of these businesses will be opening in the city this year,” Selleck said.

A lot of the growing interest in the city has to do with changes implemented by the council in the last five to 10 years, according to Selleck, who said that the members of the council have been working constantly to improve the attractiveness of the city.

He said that these changes include the addition of a splash pad, a new youth baseball complex, trails and improvements in the general appearance of the town that have directly impacted growth in both residential and business real-estate in Kilgore.

“We have a lot of dedicated members of council who have a strong vision of what a great city Kilgore is, and it is this year that businesses have really started to take notice,” Selleck said.

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