Like it or not, Berthoud is growing
By Rudy Hemmann
Most people in town have noticed the steadily increasing number of homes being built in the subdivisions around town. The population of the town is increasing as well.
Results of the 2010 census indicated Berthoud’s population was 5,105. The estimated population of the town on July 1, 2017, came in at 8,889. That is a 74.12 percent population increase in seven years, from the census conducted in 2010 to July 1, 2017. The town’s population growth places it firmly at the pinnacle of population growth among towns in the northern Colorado region. Johnstown came in a distant second at 56.55 percent.
With all of the new developments springing up, and the associated increases in population, one thing is certain, there will be growing pains. The effects of the increase in population is already being felt at the schools. Berthoud Elementary and Ivy Stockwell are both near or slightly over capacity. The Thompson School District board will attempt to ease the situation at the elementary schools by moving two modular classrooms, one to each elementary school.
As we all know, the burgeoning classes will grow up, and Turner Middle School will be the next to ask for help. (See a full article concerning the school situation on page A2 of last week’s Surveyor.)
The cries heard the loudest, at least in the downtown area, are “Please, don’t let growth besmirch our ‘Old Town,’” and “Let’s keep ‘Old Town’ quaint.”
The Surveyor offices are located on Mountain Avenue and, unless new residents have found a new way to get downtown, we have not noticed a 74 percent increase in vehicle traffic passing by our front windows. Since most development is taking place at the edges of Berthoud, we think that “Old Town” Berthoud will be alright for the foreseeable future.
We cannot focus just on the negative. Growth of the town will draw retail businesses and family dining establishments to Berthoud. The town should see a rise in sales tax revenue, which will help to pay for amenities.
This period of population growth shows no signs of letting up. The number of residential building permits issued by the town is a good indicator of building activity for the near term. Sue Bowles, the town’s building and planning technician, reports as of May 31, 2018, the number of residential building permits issued stands at 177. If this pace continues, the building department has a chance to set a new record for the number of residential building permits issued in a year. (2017 is currently the record holder at 435 residential permits issued.)
Town Administrator Chris Kirk stated in an email message concerning the growth in Berthoud, “Our town efforts are focused on enhancing the character of the community by creating and maintaining high standards for new development. We’re also implementing long-range infrastructure plans and increasing the quality of our public facilities and programs so that current and future residents can enjoy Berthoud for decades to come.”
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