October 16, 2009

Magic number(s)

Sort of a compliment to Tony's post, but interesting enough that it merits its own post.

In his post, mentioned the fact that Waynesville's population was relativity small compered to Waynesboro.

And, if you look on paper, it is. Much smaller (2006 est. 3,507 vs. est. 21,454).

But that will be changing. Very soon. In fact, it could very well happen overnight.

Let me explain.

Waynesville and St. Robert (affectionately known, by me, as "the 'Ville" and "St. Bob") are technically different cities, but they're basically, along with the Army base Fort Leonard Wood, one community, as you can see here:

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The 'Ville has a population of around 3,500 and St. Bob around 2,700.

But if you were to come here without knowing anything about the community other than the population figures, you'd be mighty confused. How many communities of 6,000 have rush-hour traffic jams?

They don't. The actual population of the entire community is somewhere closer to 40,000. The problem is, most of Ft. Wood's population is unincorporated, so it doesn't count towards the figures of either city. Fort Wood has about 35,000 people (tricky, since the Army is transient... so it might, in all truth be even more).

If you read the article above, though, you'll read that the Wayesville and St. Robert city councils and the Pulaski County commission are in talks to annex the population of Fort Leonard Wood, which will mean that they'll add 17,500 people to the numbers of each city.

If you're keeping track, that would put the 'Ville at 21,007 and 20,260 for St. Bob. And since they're basically one community that's upwards of 40,000 people.

This is significant, for a few reasons. First, now people will actually look at the city populations and not think "podunk, middle of nowhere town." They'll think "podunk, little CITY off I-44."

Second, and most importantly, businesses might give us a second look and give us the possibility for even more growth. Which means that maybe we'll finally get a Panera Bread and a standalone Starbucks.

If we couple it with Rolla, 20 miles up the road towards St. Louis— pop. 18,438, plus 6,000 college students— we've got ourselves a nice little corridor of small cities. Who knows, maybe we'll even get a Borders or Barnes & Noble bookstore (snicker).

When all is said and done, it looks like Tony and Chase still live in a larger metropolitan area— Augusta County, VA has a total population of 70,910 (not sure, at this point, if that includes Waynesboro and Staunton).

Pulaski County, MO, on the other hand, has a population of 44,546, including the 'Ville, the Fort and St. Bob. So we're still smaller.

You guys just aren't multiplying overnight.

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