"County still state's fastest growing"
Last week’s release of Census Bureau figures brought good news for Shelby County and better news for several of its cities.
The county remains the fastest-growing in the state, according to the census, and two cities – Calera and Chelsea – more than doubled in size. Several other cities posted double-digit growth.
Government and school leaders throughout the county express joy over the growth, but they also understand that infrastructure and services must keep up with the growth.
The population of the county grew by 51,792 between 2000 and 2010, according to figures released by the United States Census Bureau. That’s a 36.1 percent increase in the 10 years since the last census.
The increase makes Shelby County the fifth-largest county in the state, passing Tuscaloosa County.
In 2000, the county’s population was 143,293. In 2010, that number has grown to 195,085.
The Shelby County cities of Calera and Chelsea more than doubled their populations in the decade span between 2000 and 2010, according to Census figures.
Calera’s population rose from 3,158 in 2000 to 11,620 in 2010, an increase of 267.9 percent.
Chelsea grew from 2,949 residents in 2000 to 10,183 in 2010, an increase of 245.3 percent.
Another city in Shelby County also made news in the growth category.
Alabaster’s population has risen 34.2 percent since 2000, making it the 16th-largest city in Alabama. Alabaster’s 2010 population was 30,352, up 7,733 from the 2000 Census figure of 22,619.
“This is great news for Alabaster,” said Mayor David Frings. “We have put plans in place that have allowed us to grow at a controlled and manageable rate. This means that we are able to continue the high quality services for all of our citizens and continue to grow the market for our businesses.
“Businesses want to increase their bottom line, and planned sustainable growth allows this to happen without compromising the quality of life for our citizens,” Frings said.
Schools must keep up with the influx of students. That’s a problem Alabaster is facing, according to Councilwoman Sophie Martin.
“This raises the question of whether we are doing everything we can to handle the growth,” Martin said, adding that schools in Alabaster are showing the effects of a booming population. “We need to put a good plan in place for now and for 10 years from now.”
Another issue that must be addressed is redistricting, and Alabaster officials already are working on that.
Alabaster City Councilman Rick Walters is heading up a committee to redraw the voting districts necessitated by the shift in population. Councilmen Adam Moseley and Scott Brakefield are serving on the committee, along with City Clerk Marsha Massey, City Administrator George Henry and a representative from the city’s building and fire departments.
Walters said the new districts will be closely divided based on population and using as many natural boundaries as possible.
Several other cities in the county also posted double-digit growth:
In addition, Westover, which incorporated in 2001, made the Census for the first time with a population of 1,275.
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