Calera shows what county can achieve

Published 12:58 pm Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Turns out I’m something of a trendsetter. Now, before you drop your newspaper or laptop due to the explosive laughter my previous sentence might have elicited, let me explain.

Nine years ago when I first moved to Shelby County, I was looking for a nice community in which to live temporarily while I began my work here at the Reporter; some place safe, with good neighbors and churches that was close to my new office. A great BBQ restaurant would be a major plus. Calera was the perfect choice for me and, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, it has been for more than 7,500 others who have moved to the community since 2000. That whopping 219 percent growth rate makes Calera Alabama’s fastest growing community and brings its total estimated population to just less than 11,000.

Certainly Calera has experienced a few growing pains in the last decade, but the city and those who call it home have also reaped the rewards of growth. New city facilities like the library and community center, new schools like Calera High School and new shops that bring convenience and jobs are all fruits of Calera’s growth. The list could go on.

Calera Mayor Jon Graham and the town council are now turning attention to expanding city services through enhancements of police and fire services that will no doubt further improve quality of life in the community, which in turn will attract more residents. It’s a cycle of good people making smart choices that will impact a community for decades. And it’s called leadership.

Much like Calera, every community in Shelby County grew between 2000-2009, with countywide population toping 192,000 in 2009. This, too, comes as little surprise.

If we, both as individual cities such as Calera and as the Shelby County community as a whole, make wise investments in our schools, our public safety and our infrastructure, these historical growth rates are likely to continue. Shortchanging any one of the three will no doubt stunt our prosperity.