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New metro boom towns include Piedmont, Blanchard

Big population gains drive development in far northwest Oklahoma County and northern Canadian County. But some urban core neighborhoods also showed healthy population gains, according to an analysis of census data.
BY PAUL MONIES Published: February 20, 2011

Plentiful land, highway access and new schools boosted suburban growth around Oklahoma City in the last decade as places such as Piedmont and Blanchard became the new boom towns.

But don't discount growth inside Oklahoma City or in established suburbs such as Edmond, Moore and Yukon.

An analysis of census tracts by The Oklahoman shows the biggest population gains in far northwest Oklahoma County and south of Oklahoma City in Moore. Population declines occurred in some parts of core Oklahoma City, as well as older parts of Edmond, Midwest City and Norman.

“To anybody who's been here over the last decade, they probably would not be too surprised by the size of the growth just looking at the number of housing additions that have popped up,” said Steve Barker, senior research analyst at the state Commerce Department.

About the growth

Census tracts range in population size from 2,000 to 8,000 people, but most average about 4,000 people. They vary in land area because of population density. Barker said the Census Bureau added dozens of tracts in Oklahoma, Cleveland and Canadian counties because of population growth in the last 10 years.

In far northwest Oklahoma County, the once sparsely populated area now has rush-hour traffic snarls as commuters navigate the network of two-lane county roads. New businesses along Memorial Road and the Kilpatrick Turnpike have spurred development in the unincorporated Deer Creek area as well as Piedmont.

Piedmont is working on a comprehensive plan that should be finished later this year, said Clark Williams, city manager. He said the city is taking a “managed growth” approach to the population changes.

Among the new retail development in the area is a Williams grocery store, which is being built south of the intersection of NW 164 and Piedmont Road. The city already has platted areas for more than 2,000 lots for housing, as well as plats for other mixed-use developments for office and retail.

“Every day I'm dealing with a lot of property issues and water and utility issues,” Williams said. “It doesn't take the developers long to get out there and turn dirt. Once they get their approvals, they're quick to throw the stormwater, the drainage, the streets and roads and utility structures. After that, you see the houses going up just as soon as they can get finalized.

Check out an interactive map of population growth in...

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