Just like the city's population, Grovetown's borders are growing by leaps and bounds.
"We just happen to be right in the middle of the pass," Mayor Dennis Trudeau said. "My whole philosophy is to enjoy the country living with metro accessibility."
Between 1990 and 2000, the city's population exploded from 3,596 in 1990 to 6,098 in 2000. Much of that growth - and the growth since - can be attributed to annexation. The city has annexed in more than 850 acres since 1990, Trudeau said.
The city's proximity to Fort Gordon, the new middle school and the development of the Euchee Creek Greenway are all attractors for potential home buyers, developer Bill Beazley said.
But the main factor is the affordability of homes built there. For example, homes built by Beazley in Liberty Hills and Euchee Creek are priced between $110,000 and $129,000.
"Affordability is a big thing," Beazley said. "We try to hit certain price targets out there that you cannot hit in the rest of Columbia County. There is just a big demand for housing. We have a lot of choices in those price ranges people cannot find anywhere else. It is the product. The product is pulling people to that area, is what I am hearing from various Realtors."
Currently, the city has six subdivision developments in some stage of construction including the 205-home Liberty Hills.
According to Beazley, Grovetown hasn't always drawn home buyers but now people really enjoy living in the area. The business is now reaping the rewards of five years of patience.
"We have been real pleased with the market out there," Beazley said. "It has improved over time. It improves yearly. We are getting rewarded right now for the five years we have been out there. Now, we are selling houses as fast as we can build them. It is probably one of the most incredible situations."
Trudeau is excited about the largest development trend in his 16 years as mayor and what it means for his growing city. So, he welcomes developers and all that comes with them.
"We are at the right place and the right time," Trudeau said. "I believe developers would have come regardless of who was sitting as mayor or council. I will say that we are receptive to the growth. We are pro-growth. We do everything we can to assist the developers. That means a lot. We will go the extra mile to get developers to develop into this area."
More houses mean more people and the population increase has definite benefits for the city, Trudeau said. Higher populations draw more business, like the Fred's chain store that should open by July. During the past negotiation session for the Local Option Sales Tax, the 9 percent Grovetown received was based on population alone, which was a lower percentage than received in the past, Trudeau said.
"With the increase with our population, when we sit down at the table to negotiate next time, we may go back up to 10, 11 or even 12 percent if the population continues," Trudeau said. "The school that we just built is a catalyst for drawing more developers into this area."
But with the good comes the bad. Trudeau said he is excited about the rapid growth of his city, but worried it may be happening too fast.
"We are going to have to do some real hard thinking here in the next few months, the next 30 or 60 days, about our water and sewer system because we are having to distribute some of our waste water into Columbia County," he said.
"We have to keep our infrastructure ahead of the development. We are almost level right now. We have to do something in the very short future to guarantee there will be space for sewer and for the water."
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