HOUSTON — Oil equals boom — especially in population right now. And Texas, in the midst of a significant energy rush, is seeing its towns and cities burst at the seams.
Three of the nation’s five fastest-growing cities — and seven of the top 15 — are in the Lone Star State, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau, part of a trend across the West largely fueled by an oil boom. Most of the cities are West of the Mississippi.
Now these cities need to have enough roads, schools, water and infrastructure to keep up — the growing pains of a surging population. And while it is viewed as opportunity, city planners are frazzled.
Odessa, Texas, smack-dab in the middle of the oil-rich Permian Basin, is No. 11 on the Census Bureau list. People are flooding the oil fields, booming thanks to new hydraulic fracturing technologies that allow drillers access to once out-of-reach resources.
Editor’s note: Dear Bobbleheads on Pottstown Borough Council, please notice Easton is not salivating over Section 8 housing projects and cheap townhomes. There is job creation, shopping, dining, entertainment and population growth in the coveted 25- 35 y/o demographic and the seniors with disposable income segment. MARKET RATE HOUSING is attracting people with jobs! Easton had 26,800 people as of the 2010 census so we are talking a Pottstown-sized community. Take a field trip!
“We threw every zoning and land development regulation away,” Bradley said. “We opened the frontier to the investment that happened after that.”
Diane Haviland and her husband, Ken Greene, are empty-nesters who found Easton’s downtown by accident. Preparing for their retirement years in 2010, they bought 4 acres in Harmony Township, N.J., to build their 3,500-square-foot dream home, complete with a pool, library and bar.
They’d rented an apartment in Easton while they built what they assumed would be their last home. The designs were drawn and building permits issued, but as they stood on the empty lot ready to turn the bulldozers loose, Haviland and Greene had a joint epiphany.
“We looked at each other and thought, why would we leave Easton? We love it there,” Haviland said. “So, now I have plans for a beautiful home and 4 acres for sale.”
The couple bought a vacant three-story building on Centre Square. After a more than $1 million renovation, they’ll rent out the first floor and live out their years in the floors above.
Editor’s note: This is the desired effect of revitalization in case anybody in Pottstown Borough government cares!
One in a continuing series spotlighting real estate markets in this region’s communities.
If you’ve been house-hunting and Lansdale is on your list of possibilities, consider setting aside Saturday to give this Montgomery County borough the once-over.
Don’t expect to be alone, though, because June 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. is Lansdale Day, which typically attracts up to 5,000 people downtown, from Green Street to Cannon Avenue, to a fund-raiser for the Rotary of North Penn.
Even without the lure of a day of fun along West Main Street, a lot of people – especially younger ones and first-time buyers in search of affordable housing – have been heading to Lansdale lately.
The piece by longtime Pittsburgh fan Jim Russell originally appeared on the website Pacific Standard and opened with this provocative lead paragraph:
“What does a dying city look like? Brains are draining. The population is shrinking or aging, or both. Vibrant, creative class cool Portland is the antithesis of dying. Yesterday, journalist Annalyn Kurtz tweets: ‘See! The Portland labor force lost 25,000 workers in the last year.’ “
The next sentence was the real killer: “What in the name of Richard Florida is going on here?” Pittsburghers of a certain age will remember when Richard Florida was just a local phenomenon. The Carnegie Mellon professor from 1987 to 2004 literally wrote the book on what constitutes a livable city.
The 2013 annual report by The Institute for Public Policy & Economic Development indicates Northeastern Pennsylvania is showing signs of an economic turnaround.
The eighth annual Indicators Report, to be released and discussed at a forum Thursday at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, tracks the region’s performance on an array of categories, including demographics, public safety, jobs and the economy.
“The annual Indicators Report serves as a yardstick for measuring growth and trends in Northeastern Pennsylvania,” said Patrick Leahy, Wilkes University president and chairman of the institute, which is a partnership among Keystone College, King’s College, Luzerne County Community College, Marywood University, Misericordia University, Penn State Wilkes-Barre, The University of Scranton, and is owned and managed by Wilkes.
Reports covering more than 120 indicators for Lackawanna and Luzerne counties, as well as statewide data, will be discussed next week. And reports from the institute’s five task forces also will be provided to show data on health and health care, jobs and the local economy, education, housing, transportation and land use.
Several macrotrends have broken Philadelphia’s way: The city’s population is growing again. Residential building is up, and the city has seen an influx of college-educated young adults over the last decade.
But one trend remains stubbornly negative, as three recent research reports make clear: The city continues to lose jobs. The latest such evidence was included in the Center City District’s “State of Center City, 2013″ report, released Monday.
The special-services district can rightly brag about the increased vibrancy in the area wedged between the rivers and Vine and Pine Streets. The city is cleaner since 1990, serious crime is down, and the churn in retail stores and restaurants is source of small-business strength.
Employment, though, remains a weakness, and if the long-term trend of job destruction does not change, it’s hard to imagine that the city could continue to maintain momentum in other areas.
A combination of births, deaths and migration added more than 2,000 residents to Berks County from 2010 to 2012.
With a population of 413,491, Berks had the ninth-largest population of 67 counties in the state and is tied for 18th-highest growth rate at 0.5 percent.
But statistics released this week by the U.S. Census Bureau also show that 3,044 more residents moved out of Berks than into it from elsewhere within the country.
The only other counties that had more people move out to settle elsewhere in the country were Delaware, which lost 4,282, and Philadelphia, which lost 14,535.
NASHVILLE — Portland knows the feeling. Austin had it once, too. So did Dallas.
Even Las Vegas enjoyed a brief moment as the nation’s “it” city.
Now, it’s Nashville’s turn.
Here in a city once embarrassed by its Grand Ole Opry roots, a place that sat on the sidelines while its Southern sisters boomed economically, it is hard to find a resident who does not break into the goofy grin of the newly popular when the subject of Nashville’s status comes up.
Mayor Karl Dean, a Democrat in his second term, is the head cheerleader.
Lancaster County is growing, but the growth is slowing.
That report in last week’s Sunday News undoubtedly gave advocates of agricultural preservation and open space cause to celebrate. After a 30-year period (from 1980 to 2010) of 43.3 percent population growth, the percentage is projected to be 25.5 percent by 2040.
While that translates into another 132,555 residents — moving the population from 519,445 in 2010 to 652,000 in 2040 — what gives us pause is the demographics of the projected growth.
Lancaster County planners said the biggest bump in population is expected to come from people older than 65. In other words, the county, already on its way to becoming a retirement mecca, will be growing by graying.
Now Berks falls between a new distribution hub in Schuylkill County and some of its stores.
This spring, the Rochester, N.Y., upscale grocer opened the $70 million warehouse in Cass and Foster townships, Wegmans’ third and largest warehouse in Schuylkill.
The company said in May that the move completes a distribution hub for fresh and frozen foods. More than 200 new employees were hired to staff it. The distribution hub was subsidized with state incentives of $731,650 in opportunity zone and job training money and job creation tax credits.
“This is good news for Berks County,” said county commissioners Chairman Christian Y. Leinbach.
Part of the reason for that growth is Berks is in the middle of a growing corridor from Lehigh to Lancaster counties, Leinbach said.
Lehigh tied for Pennsylvania‘s second-highest growth rate and Lancaster tied for fifth.
For whatever reason, Marylanders are crossing the Mason-Dixon Line and moving into southern York County.
According to the US Census Department, during the last decade housing units increased in York County by 12.8%. Northern migration from Maryland was a substantial part of that gain, according to Steve Snell, executive director of the Realtors Association of York & Adams Counties.
I wonder what is luring these people out of Maryland? The adjacent Maryland counties are Hanford, Baltimore and Carroll.
The 717 area code is running out of numbers. Area code 717 was split in 1998. The northern counties, formerly in 717, became 570. Now it seems the 717 area code is back to square one.
Population growth in South Central Pennsylvania is creating a need for more phone numbers. York County is projecting a 12.4% increase over the 2000 census. Lancaster County will also show an increase of about 7%. Other “717” counties are growing as well.
Two options are being considered. 1. An overlay like 610 & 484 or 2. creating another entirely new area code. 73% of York County business owners who responded to a survey said they preferred the overlay option. Either option costs businesses money.
The Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission is holding hearings to get public opinion on how to proceed.