Loop 49 Brings Businesses to Gresham

Piles of dirt and concrete are shaping up into a bridge that forms the southwest portion of Loop 49. At the intersection with Old Jacksonville Hwy, a relatively quiet area is growing into a bustling community.

Less than a mile away, people are already anticipating the increased traffic Loop 49 will bring. Businesses in strip centers are already opening up.

The Donut & Pizza Factory opened their new location there at the beginning of this year.

"We just realized that this is going to be a very good area to do it in," Kris Shustella, the store manager, said. "It's definitely a decision that will take some time because it's still growing right now. But we know, within five years, it'll be a good choice."

Two doors down, Gresham resident Jennifer Matelski one month ago opened up No Lines Tan & Video.

"The first week we were open, we had 56 people sign up for tanning packages alone," the owner said. "So, and their main reason for signing up, a lot of it, was, we don't want to drive to Tyler, we don't want the traffic."

Just blocks away, other new businesses are making their mark: Half Moon Grill & Saloon, Loggins Restaurant, and Stewart Family Funeral Home, still under construction.

By the year 2015, TX-Dot estimates, more than 8,000 cars each day will pass through Gresham by way of Loop 49. While business owners welcome the extra traffic in the future, some residents fear their country living may soon turn into city living. But most residents are receptive to the new developments.

"I'd like to see Tyler grow and Gresham grow, and maybe we'll have some more jobs for more people," Gloria Colbert, a Gresham homeowner, said.

While the construction may be noisy and dusty right now, most people see it as signs of progress.

Not only are businesses starting up, new subdivisions are also being built in the Gresham area. According to a local real estate company, land and property values are also going up.

Julie Tam, reporting.