Calera: Alabamas newest boom town: Citys population more than doubles in last 10 years

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 11, 2007

CALERA &8212; When a city&8217;s population more than doubles in less than 10 years, some adjustments must be made, and probably no one knows this better than Calera Mayor George Roy.

The United States Census Bureau released statistics June 28 showing, percentage-wise, Roy is mayor of the fastest growing city in the state.

From 2000 to 2006, Calera&8217;s population grew by 161 percent from 3,190 to 8,330, compared to the state&8217;s overall growth rate of 3.4 percent during that same period.

&8220;We&8217;ve actually been expecting this for quite some time,&8221; Roy said of the population growth.

Roy, who is about to complete his 35th year as mayor, said the city&8217;s growth really took off about seven years ago when food processing corporation Sysco moved in.

&8220;They really kicked things off, and then a lot of other companies started to look at moving to the area,&8221; he said.

He also said ease of transportation was an important part of the growth.

&8220;The biggest positive thing we&8217;ve had for Calera is the three exits off I-65,&8221; Roy said, adding that most new residential subdivisions are being constructed within a few miles of the Interstate.

He said that the growth of both homes and businesses have helped the tax base a great deal and allows the city to offer more services.

It also creates a continuing challenge of keeping pace with roads, sewers and fire departments. City Clerk Linda Steele said city planners are happy with the growth, but it hasn&8217;t been without some pains.

&8220;It&8217;s good for the city, but it has been tough on some of the workers,&8221; Steele said, adding that there&8217;s no longer a time when, &8220;things kind of slow down.&8221;

Jim Brown of Calera&8217;s Housing Authority, said addressing the needs of low-income housing has been one of the biggest problems the city has faced.

Brown oversees the waiting list for available low-income rentals and subsidized-living homes. He the list has been closed since November because it&8217;s so long.

&8220;If I had a hundred houses ,I could find people for all of them,&8221; he said.

In other parts of Alabama, Huntsville saw greater numerical growth in the six year period, adding 8,701 people and ranking first in the state in total numbers, while Calera was ninth (5,137).

Pelham and Hoover were the only other Shelby County cities listed in the top 10 for total number of new residents, coming in fifth (5,724) and sixth (5,640) respectively in the census estimates