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Crawford changes less than staggering

Jan. 17, 2001

Real-estate agents say value of land not on an upswing



President-elect George W. Bush has brought about changes in Crawford. These changes appear to be short lived.

Real estate investors might hope that these changes are long-term. However, area real estate professionals believe these changes aren't long-term.

The value of real estate in Crawford is inherent in the land, not the prestige of living near President-elect George W. Bush, according to area real estate professionals.

'A real estate boom in Crawford is just hype,' said Gene Haverkamp, a real estate agent with ReMax Waco.

Owner of Northern Realtors, Larry Northern said, 'I don't see a frenzy there, the price may appreciate just due to appreciation.'

Folks hoping to cash in on Crawford's new-found fame might be discouraged by area real estate agents.

'The real estate agent is supposed to be the professional and tell the customers the facts. I don't believe the land is worth more now. I'm advising people not to list their property higher,' Haverkamp said.

'There's a lot of land for sale everywhere. Just because a person wants to live near the president shouldn't affect the price,' Northern said. 'There is a county ordinance that has recently been passed to keep traffic off the road near his ranch,' Northern said.

'It's going to be difficult to rub elbows with the president in Crawford. You would be more likely to rub elbows with him at a café,' Northern said.

'Prior to and immediately after the confirmation [of Bush's win], people were calling me to see if this would raise the price of their land,' Haverkamp said.

Today, phones are ringing around the clock in Crawford; police have to coordinate with the secret service agents; and the mayor is fielding reporters' questions from around the globe.

Bush's election has thrust Crawford real estate and city employees into the national spotlight.

Crawford is a railroad town of 631 residents. The city has an unpaid part-time mayor, one full-time and one part-time police officer and one full-time city secretary.

'The city secretary, Sheryl Christian, has to do her daily job of collecting utility bills, typing ordinances and handling city business,' said Mayor Robert L. Campbell. 'Now people are calling all the time. She is just swamped.'

Campbell is a busy man these days, too. In addition to his mayor position, he pastors two churches. Twice a month he preaches at the Perry Chapel United Methodist Church in Crawford at 9 a.m. After this sermon he heads back to Waco where he is a full-time pastor at Mount Zion United Methodist Church for a service at 11 a.m.

All of the recent clamor in Crawford has not shaken Campbell. 'I am trained at the seminary to take time away with my family, and to not get burned out,' said Campbell a 1988 Baylor graduate.

City officials are welcoming a break from the extra duties after Bush settles in at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. 'I expect him here less in the first year, than later on,' said Campbell.

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