Pictured: Bridgefield Story_8605The Twin Lakes subdivision in Orangefield will soon have more than 30 houses built on lots there. Many are moving to Orangefield and Bridgefield for various reasons.

Maybe living the good life in Orangefield and Bridgefield- the area between Orangefield and Bridge City- isn’t such a secret anymore since so many folks are moving there. For instance, Bridge City realtors agree that the area has been filling up since Hurricane Ike hit. Debbie Hughes with Jerry Hughes Realty said Bobcat Trails has practically sold out of lots with the exception of a few individual lots. There’s are also new subdivisions in the Tanglewood Addition and Twin Lakes.

“It took off after Ike,” Hughes said. “It slowed down a little bit from the recession but Texas has far to fall. Interest rates are still low and it’s a great time to buy. Especially first time home buyers.”

Home buyers come from a variety of occupations too. Many are local buyers who like a larger lot for outdoor activities, play areas for their children, gardening and room for big boy toys, she said.

On the flip side, some who work at plants and refineries are often transferred and they don’t have the time to wait for a new home to be built. Hughes said the Orangefield Water Supply Corporation does a good job of supplying water and sewer. Developers build the subdivision’s streets and are reimbursed by governmental entities and infrastructure is provided for rural communities.

Connie Hanks, of Sel Best Realty in Bridge City, meanwhile, believes people are moving to Orangefield and Bridgefield for the school district.

“Orangefield ISD is a very, very popular school district,” Hanks said. “There’s no city taxes while also trying to pay on your house note. They moved out here after Ike to replace or restore their homes and they thought we might as well do it then (build a new  house).”

The recession did affect local home sales, but the market kept moving forward in spite of it.

“It’s coming back to life,” she said.

Another bonus is that Orangefield is higher ground than Bridge City and residents have lower flood insurance costs. There were 35 homes sold in Orangefield a year ago ranging in price from $32,000 to $350,000. Hanks said Orangefield Water Supply Corporation operations are widespread. If service is not available, residents can still opt for an aerobic septic system and not pay for city services.

Another popular rural spot is Mauriceville, she said. “It’s a great place to live. They’re an easy-going bunch,” Hanks said.

Wilma Horner of ReMax Realty in Bridge City said developments have sprung up on FM 105 and FM 1442 the past three years.  She said people like the convenient location of the community and also the natural beauty.

“It’s a great community,” Horner said.

Joe Morton, general manager of the Orangefield Water Supply Corporation said customers are members of the private, nonprofit corporation. Property owners pay $100 fee for membership. The corporation serves 1,800 potable water customers and 1,000 waste water customers.

“We’ve had a lot of growth,” Morton said. “Lots of the older subdivisions required septic tanks and they’re now part of the wastewater system. Bobcat Trails is filled up and sewer is available. We need customer growth which is a good thing.”

Morton said the corporation stays busy with service calls. They receive one or two calls a day requesting water and/or sewer service. One of the biggest challenges for the corporation, however, is rural utilities financing for potable water and wastewater service.

The federal government issue grants according to income levels from demographic information. Those with lower to moderate income levels who qualify can get a four-inch water line installed. A neighbor may need an eight-inch line for future growth, however.

“Our facilities are not adequate to expand,” Morton said.

Since Orangefield and Bridgefield are unincorporated, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office patrols the areas. Sheriff Keith Merritt said four deputy sheriffs patrol there. Their call load has increased over the years since more live there, but not dramatically. Patrols particularly cover new home construction to prevent theft and vandalism.