Communities of Lea County

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Hobbs

Hobbs, home to roughly 36,000 residents, considers itself a community that helps fuel America, seeing as it is home to some of the largest oil and gas reserves in the world. Such global recognition has resulted in an economic upswing for the community.

As the city, local leaders are looking to its roots to keep the area vibrant yet true to self. Hobbs’ roots in ranching and agriculture remain present and robust today.

In addition, Hobbs is known for its impressive school system, which includes two new elementary schools. The school district’s goal is to develop lifelong learners and community leaders. Local higher education options include New Mexico Junior College and University of the Southwest.

The city is also home to the Veteran’s Memorial Complex, the Western Heritage Museum and Rockwind Community Links, a 27-hole municipal golf course.

City officials say a main goal is to encourage physical activity to ensure the community’s vitality, as evidenced by plans for The CORE, a $65 million health and wellness center. There’s also Taylor Ranch, a 240-acre park with a pond, amphitheater, a tennis complex, restaurants, go-carts and miniature golf.

Other activities in town include art shows, live music, family festivals and an annual community talent show. Hobbs truly is a place with beauty and diversity on many levels.

Eunice

Residents of Eunice give their “stamp” of approval to the small town of about 3,000 that got its unusual start as a post office for area ranchers.

The town was officially established in 1909, and since then, it has evolved into a close-knit community. Education is part of the town’s fabric, with its first schoolhouse having opened in 1910.

Community spirit is alive and well here, as evidenced by its various civic organizations, senior center, and a presidential-award-winning library. It also has a community center that provides facilities for meetings and community events.

Eunice serves as a shortcut for travelers en route to the Carlsbad Caverns, Artesia, Roswell and the New Mexico mountain resort areas.

Stopping by? Squeeze in a round at Eunice Municipal Golf Course – a 9-hole facility with a driving range and practice green. Or check out local parks such as Turner Park, which offers a walking trail, playground, pool, baseball field and rodeo arena. In addition, Stephen’s Park features RV hookups, a basketball court and walking areas.

Jal

Jal is an extremely small community with a big job: to welcome visitors who cross into New Mexico from the southeast.

“The Trail Ahead” is a 100-foot metal sculpture depicting cattle drives. It greets those heading into town. With just more than 2,000 residents, Jal prides itself as a “small town with a big heart.”

Amenities here include Jal Lake Park, a main attraction among a 10-acre recreational oasis that sits in the middle of a desert. The man-made lake is shaped to spell the name of the city when viewed from above, making it a landmark for pilots. It resembles the old cattle brand that inspired the Jal name. The watering hole is stocked for year-round fishing. Other activities offered include tennis, basketball, and picnicking.

There’s also the 9-hole Jal Country Club, which is a semi-private golf course that opened in 1950. LPGA Hall-of-Famer Kathy Whitworth perfected her swing on these links.

Jal Public Schools is a cornerstone here. Recent projects in the district include the construction of a new elementary and middle school, as well as major renovations to the high school.

Lovington

Take a dash of temperate climate, a spoonful of scenic beauty, and a pinch of clean water and air, and you’ve got the recipe for Lovington.

The town, which is the Lea County seat, prides itself in being uncrowded, safe, friendly and progressive.

The town is more than 100 years old. Its first business – the “Jim B. Love Grocery Store,” which also housed a post office – was erected in 1908.

Back in the day, the main focus was on ranching and farming. In 1950, oil made its mark on the local economy and labor force when the Denton pool, about nine miles northeast of town, was discovered. It didn’t take long for that pool to grow to more than 90 flowing wells.

Oil is a big part of what draws folks to town – and it keeps many here. But for the nearly 10,000 people who live here, the weather is a major bonus. Think warm summer days, cool nights and mild winters. Lovington is unique and welcoming to first-timers and returning guests alike.

Tatum

The town of Tatum has deep roots despite its modest numbers.

Founded in 1909, the town has about 800 residents. Folks here are known for working hard and taking pride in their history.

Main jobs in these parts include cattle-ranching and oilfield working. Tatum Municipal Schools provide an excellent education.

Smack dab in the village center sits one of its main draws: the popular Senior Citizens Center, as well as a number of businesses. Key gathering spots in Tatum include the community center and community park. Another local service provided is at the Tatum Community Library, which contains about 9,300 volumes for residents to peruse and check out.

Tatum is home to an RV campground. Additionally, visitors can come to town by foot or air, via the Tatum Airport. From there, they can grab a bite to eat at one of several restaurants, some of which offer tasty, authentic Mexican cuisine.