Hall County’s population surpassed the 190,000 mark last year, according to the latest U.S. Census estimates released today.
As of July 1, 2014, Hall County’s population is projected at 190,761, up from 187,759 in July 2013, about a 1.6 percent increase.
That’s a slight uptick in the rate of growth experienced over the last few years.
“Our growth is sustainable provided we can continue to support the community infrastructure important to our quality of life,” said Tim Evans, vice president of economic development at the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce.
Hall County’s population grew about 4.5 percent between 2010 and 2013.
Between 2000 and 2010, the county’s population grew about 29 percent, or about 2.9 percent annually.
New growth can recently be seen in commercial development springing up along Dawsonville Highway, or in the fact Gainesville issued a record number of home permits in 2014.
“That growth brings with it new retail and restaurants, additional grocery stores, jobs, medical services, additional housing and other things that add to our community,” Evans said.
But with new growth and development comes a rise in the demand for government services.
Gainesville Mayor Danny Dunagan addressed it in his State of the City speech this year.
Hall County Commission Chairman Richard Mecum seemed to warn of it in his State of the County speech, too.
And a vote on extending a special purpose local option sales tax, or SPLOST VII, earlier this month was meant to prepare for and manage the growth, officials said.
While voters passed the 1 percent sales tax to fund infrastructure projects, turnout was just 6.5 percent.
Nevertheless, managing growth becomes a larger concern as it ramps up, and there is a need to balance residents’ concerns about issues such as traffic, school sizes, social services or utilities.
“Growth also creates a certain obligation to develop the community’s infrastructure to maintain quality of life, but that’s all the more reason that we think ahead about our future needs as a community and plan for growth,” Evans said.
Meanwhile, Forsyth County was the sixth-fastest-growing county in the nation between July 2013 and July 2014. Its population grew an estimated 4.3 percent to 204,302 from 195,312.