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How city planners prepare as Huntsville’s on track to become largest city in Alabama

Updated: Jun. 4, 2021 at 11:23 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Huntsville’s on track to become the largest city in Alabama in the next six years; that headline actually comes from 2018.

But just three years later and the Rocket City could earn the title much sooner.

Census data shows Huntsville added around 23,000 people between 2010 and 2020.
Census data shows Huntsville added around 23,000 people between 2010 and 2020.(WAFF)

”I saw a great city that we could move to and have a lot of opportunity for our family,” Wesley Sargent said.

So did tens of thousands of other people.

Census Data predicts about 23,000 people were added to Huntsville’s population between 2010 and 2020. And it just keeps climbing.

Wesley Sargent and his wife Mindy are brand new to the Rocket City.

“St. Louis is a beautiful city as well, but it just has a different feel here than St. Louis. It feels more like a hometown,” Sargent said.

As more move in like the Sargents, the growth rate should be enough to push Birmingham out of the number one spot for the most populated city very soon, meaning city planners like Dennis Madsen have their hands full.

“You can spin your compass in any direction and find a new development coming out of the ground,” Dennis Madsen, Huntsville’s long-range planning director said.

Roads..

“Active and in design projects just for state and federal road projects are over $350 million just for the Huntsville region,” Madsen said.

Recreation..

“Things like greenways and parks, we’re being more intentional about making sure those things are built into those high growth areas.”

And Transportation..

“We’re taking a much more active look at transit options.”

These are all key components Madsen says the city is hard at work investing in.

“And quite frankly, in order to grow the way that we’re going, it’s going to happen really throughout the region,” Madsen said.

And that seems to be the case for Huntsville’s neighbors to the southeast in Limestone County, the fastest-growing county in the state.

“It’s unbelievable how busy we are. We’ve had more subdivisions submitted this year so far than we had in an entire 12 month period last year,” says Limestone County engineer Marc Massey.

Madsen says one of the biggest challenges the city faces now is finding enough qualified workers to get all of the projects done.

You can find open jobs in the area on A Smart Place, linked here.

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