Re: Repurposing an Existing Community

David Oesper

Valentine, TX is actually a very good possibility.  Thanks, Lissa!  I’ll start looking into it.  As you can see from this light pollution map, Valentine has *no* problem with light pollution.  Plus, it is in a protected area surrounding McDonald Observatory.

BTW, that small blob of light pollution you see by Ryan, TX (a locale, not a town) is a Border Patrol station which houses a Tethered Aerostat Radar System and is known as the “Marfa Station”.

El Paso is a 2 to 2 1/2 hour drive from Valentine.  Alpine is just over an hour away.


On Sep 16, 2020, at 9:35 PM, Lissa Bengtson <lissabengtson@...> wrote:

Valentine, TX comes to mind.  Only because when we drove through several years ago, they had a new City Hall and had preserved a house to be a public library.  There was a railroad (defunct?)...not much else but there was pride in what was there.  Might be too close to Alpine though.  And might be doing OK on their own.

I'll keep thinking.


On Wed, Sep 16, 2020 at 6:03 PM David Oesper via <> wrote:

Another approach to establishing a dark-sky, astronomy-friendly, community would be to find a small town in a rural area that would be receptive to doing the following:

  1. Enact a comprehensive lighting ordinance that will be enforced
  2. Eliminate all dusk-to-dawn outdoor lighting
  3. Apply for International Dark Sky Community status (

Obviously, this is going to be easier to do in a very small community, and most likely one that is economically depressed.

What’s in it for them? What would the motivating factors be?

  • A commitment from X number of people that they would move to the community provided the community agrees to 1-3 above being done. Options for new residents would be to either purchase or rent an existing home/apartment/RV space/etc., or to build the same but land would have to be available.
  • The new residents would commit to working with the existing residents and businesses to improve the community and provide new opportunities so that it is truly a win-win situation for both existing and new residents.
  • The new residents would commit to doing some or all of the things outlined in the Mirador Astronomy Village specifications document (, or something like it.
  • The influx of new residents and tourism will benefit all in the community, both economically and socially.

Now, does anyone have ideas about how we can find communities that are good prospects for this approach?



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