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April 17, 2007

SMALL-TOWN GROWING SPURT: Charlestown deals with growing population

Editor’s note: This is the first of a three-part series on the changing face and structure of Charlestown in Clark County.



Charlestown in 2006 looks much different from the Charlestown of a decade ago.

And if current trends hold true, the city can expect to see unprecedented growth — both in population and economic development — for another 10 years.

In the 2000 Census, Charlestown recorded 5,993 residents. Using the city’s tracking figures, Mayor Mike Hall estimates that figure to be around 8,000 by the 2010 Census count and expects the population will jump to 10,000 a couple years after that.



BUSINESS TO BOOM

Economic development is also progressing.

In the past few years, at least a dozen new businesses have opened in Charlestown.

Toyota-supplier DA Inc. added 150 new jobs, while the newly renovated Jay-C Plus Food Store now employs about 350. The city’s growing restaurant and retail business has added about 300 part- and full-time jobs to the work force, Hall said.

Job growth in 2005 was about 1.7 percent, but expected to grow to 13 percent, according to Sperling’s Best

Places, a firm that provides and analyzes economic and quality of life data, and annually publishes the results in its publication “Best Places to Live.”

There are “some real positive things happening around the city,” said Pat Glotzbach, president of the New Washington State Bank and a life-long resident.

He predicts tremendous opportunities will come with the continued development of the River Ridge Commerce Center, an industrial park located at the site of the former Indiana Army Ammunition Plant along Ind. 62.

Hall knows that if and when River Ridge Commerce Center takes off and “once the [east-end] bridge is finalized, there will be unprecedented growth.”



HOUSING MARKET STILL HOT

With the new jobs comes more housing. Projections are that more than 450 new households will be added to the city’s residential developments.

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