Estimates released on the Bureau’s Web site —www.census.gov — show that Moody, Pell City and Springville all grew by more than 35 percent in the last 10 years. Most impressive, the city of Moody is estimated to have more than 13,800 people, up from just over 8,000 in the year 2000.
Other cities in the state’s top 10 fastest growing include Calera, Kimberly, Helena, Pelham, Oneonta and Montevallo.
Moody mayor Joe Lee had not yet seen the numbers, but he said he had underestimated.
“That’s exciting,” he said. “I wouldn’t have thought we grew at that rate, due to the economy and the slow housing market.
“That shows we’re doing something right, too.”
Pell City and Springville have also seen large growth, as well — Census Bureau estimates show Pell City with a population of just over 13,100 (up from 9,500 in 2000) and Springville with just over 3,700 (up from 2,500).
“To me it’s been kind of scary,” said Springville Councilman Wayne Tucker, who has served on the council since 1980. “I know that growth is inevitable, but a lot of people wanted to see controlled growth. We’ve seen the way some other cities have grown, and with the traffic and some of the businesses, we didn’t feel like were compatible with Springville.
“But it’s exciting to see the things we can have that will help the people that have moved out here, like good restaurants and the Wal-Mart and the grocery store, that we needed real bad. If we didn’t have Wal-Mart right now, we’d be in big trouble.”
For Moody and Pell City, the estimate could mean another change: If the cities’ populations are verified to be greater than 12,000, the government forms will change, according to Pell City Mayor Bill Hereford.
“At 12,000, you become a new class of city (Class 6, or cities between 12,000 and 24,999 residents),” Herford said. “We would move to the next class and change our form of government.”
According to Hereford, both Pell City and Moody would be required by state law to shift to a format in which the mayor and council are separate from one another.
“The new form of government, the mayor is a nonvoting individual. The mayor has veto power, but it changes things,” Hereford said. “There’s also the opportunity for a city manager form of government.
“I’m very interested to see that happen, because if that happens, we’ll be moving very promptly to get ourselves ready for the next administration, to be sure we have adopted the proper form of government. So this is a big Census for us.”
Much of St. Clair County has seen population increases over the last decade. In March, the Census Bureau revealed estimates showing the county has grown by 26 percent since the year 2000. Communities such as Trussville (19,000-plus) and Leeds (more than 10,000) have seen growth as well.
Lee credited his city’s increases to forward thinking.
“For a long time, it was kind of like we had a tiger by the tail,” he said. “We were just kind of holding on, due to so many requests for rezoning coming before the planning commission. What we did, we tried to get a good mix of zoning in the city, and I think that is partly why we got the numbers we have today.
“The City Council’s willingness to rezone property was one of the biggest reasons for our growth spurt.”
With continued focus on the economic development in every part of the county, those numbers may continue to go up.
“When we can put out these type numbers, that will play a big part in the decision making,” Lee said. “To have almost 14,000 people in your city and only have one grocery store, there’s a bigger market there.
“Hopefully, the folks that have been looking at the city will take another look at us.”