Limestone Co. among fastest-growing counties in nation - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Limestone Co. among fastest-growing counties in nation

Limestone County is among the 100 fastest-growing counties in the nation, according to a Census Bureau list. Limestone County is among the 100 fastest-growing counties in the nation, according to a Census Bureau list.

The United States Census Bureau released new numbers showing Limestone County is not only one of the fastest-growing counties in the state, but among the country as well.

According to the Census Bureau report (PDF), Limestone County is the 65th fastest-growing county in the country from 2010 to 2013. During those three years, the Census Bureau reports the county added more than 6,000 new people – and that number is still growing.

Athens State University economist Dr. Tom Pieplow looked at the numbers. He pointed out many of the top 100 growing counties are on the list because of energy and oil. Many of the counties are in Texas and North Dakota, and a lot of them don't see long-term sustained growth when that oil runs out.

That is not the case for Limestone County. Pieplow said Limestone County could stay on this list for a long time. "I think Limestone County is kind of the next natural progression," he said. "When you look at Madison and the western outskirts of Huntsville, a lot of land and facilities have already been taken."

The economist said this could also mean more federal road dollars for Limestone County because the federal government does tend to give out more funds to counties with explosive growth, and they base it on this exact study.

Marshall County also experienced growth with nearly 2,000 new people, but that growth did not extend to Morgan, Lauderdale, Colbert and Franklin Counties, where those areas only saw an influx in the hundreds.

Worse are the numbers for Jackson, DeKalb and Franklin Counties, where the census numbers suggests populations are dropping.

"It's a reflection of the business climate," said Pieplow, in relation to why areas like Huntsville, Madison and Athens are having recent success in adding jobs, while Shoals and Sand Mountain areas struggle.

"Limestone County and Madison County have offered incentives for a business to come in. If I were in another county, I'd look then at what incentives could I give and then maybe have growth in our county," Pieplow continued.

The economist said if Limestone and Madison Counties continue to see this major growth, they will reap even more benefits as the Huntsville metro population nears a half-million.

"You could even see some retail outlets that are in other bigger areas that are not here right now, like a Nordstrom or a Neiman's or something like that," said Pieplow.

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