“A lot of people like this area because they get away from the congestion and they have a little more open space freedom out here,” Williams said. “Of course, that works both ways, because then you get sprawl. We can guide this growth in order to make the best quality of life possible out here.”
A few neighborhoods inside the core Oklahoma City area showed population gains, including the area just north and northwest of Shepherd Mall on NW 23.
Also showing gains were residential sections of Midtown and Bricktown, as well as the neighborhood around Oklahoma City Community College.
Many neighborhoods south of I-40 and north of I-240 showed gains over the last decade, too.
Farther south, neighborhoods surrounding the intersection of SW 134 and S Pennsylvania Avenue had significant growth.
Meanwhile, dozens of new businesses, both big and small, have opened up along Interstate 35 south of Oklahoma City into Moore.
The Moore Chamber of Commerce has grown to more than 700 members from about 200 in 2003, said Executive Director Brenda Roberts.
Farther south, the city of Blanchard, which straddles Grady and McClain Counties, grew 170 percent and now has more than 7,600 people. It had just 2,816 people in 2000.
Jeremy McGaha, with Pickard Brothers Construction in Blanchard, said the rapid growth in the middle part of the last decade has leveled off. Pickard Brothers builds custom homes that range from 1,800 to 2,200 square feet, he said.
“It seemed like everybody around town wanted to be a builder and build houses,” said McGaha, whose father-in-law Jerry Pickard owns the company. “A lot of them realized it wasn't what they thought and they fizzled out.”
McGaha said Blanchard is well served by major roads and the growth hasn't caused many traffic problems.
“It seems like they wanted to get out of the city,” he said of the new residents. “We're still growing; there's still little businesses popping up here and there.”