Archive for Thursday, May 26, 2005

Baldwin shines in survey

May 26, 2005

A consultant hired to survey Douglas County growth gave Baldwin City a good report card and also gave a prediction that by the year 2015, there will be 5,875 people who call Baldwin home.

"Actually, the consultant gave Baldwin a pretty glowing review," said City Administrator Jeff Dingman, one of several city officials and other residents who attended the presentation. "We've got moderate growth, but we're handling it well."

The presentation was by Marty Shukert, who conducted the Affordable Housing/Community Housing Assessment Team (CHAT) survey.

"It gives an outsider's view," said Dingman. "We think we're great, but it's good to hear that from an outsider's view."

According to Shukert's numbers, Baldwin's population in 1960 was 1,877, it was 2,520 in 1970, 2,829 in 1980, 2,961 in 1990 and 3,400 in 2000. Using growth projections based on those totals and other factors, he shows a population of 5,875 by 2015 in Baldwin City.

Dingman wasn't sure about those numbers, but said they provided possible guidelines.

"It's hard to say," he said of the population prediction. "The census information is from 2000. That's the latest numbers there are."

The survey was also aimed at housing availability, where Baldwin again stacked up well.

"It showed that we have different varieties of housing, although we don't have the big apartment complexes," said Dingman. "As far as the availability of housing, it's available, but the affordability isn't always there."

In a focus group session that was also a part of the survey, there was a need identified that Baldwin must address. That's recreation opportunities, he said, such as parks. That includes updating the ones presently here and the additions of new ones.

"There were deficiencies addressed in the report," said Dingman. "If we're expected to continue to grow, we need to address that."

Just this year a fee was added for new housing starts which provides money for park upkeep and improvement.

"That will help provide the capital money to outfit or update parks that we have," he said. "We also need more of it."

There's also talk of the need for new ballfields in Baldwin. Currently, officials from the city, Baldwin School District and the Baldwin City Recreation Commission are working together to address those needs.

Baldwin City's developments this year are outlined in a special section included in today's Signal -- Progress Edition 2005.

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