The town of Knightdale came in as the third Fastest Growing City in NC last year (2018). This would seem to leave little room for improvement upon the release of the 2019 numbers considering the consistent growth of many other NC municipalities. That coupled with the vast growth a town sees in ranking as high as number three, didn’t seem that it would give Knightdale a chance to move up. However, last month when these numbers were made public, it did show improvement for Knightdale. Thus, the town is listed for 2019 as the number one Fastest Growing City in NC.
How to Go From a “Small Town” to the Fastest Growing City in NC
Although some of the newer relocators to Knightdale would not recall, it was not too long ago when the town boasted under a thousand people as residents. Long-time residents, however, such as Mayor James Roberson certainly recall those days and have watched as the “small town” continued to grow.
In an article for the newspaper, “Wake Weekly,” they spoke with the current Knightdale Mayor. Specifically, he addressed the town being the Fastest Growing City in NC. In the Wake Weekly piece, Roberson recalls moving to Knightdale 25 years ago and the population at the time being at 980 people. He also gave his outlook on where he sees the town’s growth moving forward, taking into account the 980 figure against the most recently released 17,400 population of the town on July 1, 2018.
Where Does a Town Go From Being the “Fastest Growing?”
As for where Mayor Roberson sees the town heading moving forward, he is optimistic that continued growth will be steady. “I can see Knightdale in the next 15 and 20 years being one of these municipalities of 30,000 or more people,” Roberson said. “Thousands of people have considerably large needs, water and electricity, police and fire coverage, health care, restaurants, and functioning roads, to name a few.”
How Did Knightdale Become the Popular Destination it Has?
Roberson continued, giving his explanation as to what has changed to allow Knightdale such growth without much inconvenience. “You no longer have to drive 25 minutes to see a doctor,” Roberson said. “You have it right here.” He added, “The cost of living is also lower than in Raleigh, and as other suburbs fill up, Knightdale is able to offer new construction homes.” The Mayor concluded that transportation has also changed which plays a role also. “Transportation projects like the Knightdale Bypass and the future Interstate 87 make living in Knightdale or Zebulon and working in Raleigh more feasible.” Consequently, though, he does not feel all transportation issues are exactly where they need to be at present time. “Transportation projects have to include more than just larger roads. Knightdale needs pedestrian and bike paths and transit systems as well.”
Who is to “thank” for Knightdale becoming the Fastest Growing City in NC?
In this Wake Weekly article by reporter, Shawn Taylor, it speaks of several Eastern Wake County towns. Specifically, Taylor discusses these towns pointing to initiatives of their own to explain the growth. “The towns themselves are also quick to cite their own economic development initiatives for the spur in growth, ” Taylor relayed. Whereas, true to the reporters’ explanation, Mayor Roberson did cite the vision of expansion from the town in leading to more residents. “By courting apartment homes, restaurant chains, and doctor offices,” he said. “Knightdale has pulled in new residents looking to start a business or raise a family. ”
Exactly How Much Growth Placed Knightdale on “Top of the Heap?”
In just one year, Knightdale saw a ten percent overall population increase between 2017 and 2018. In that same time frame, according to the Census numbers, Knightdale added about 6,000 residents. Looking ahead to the future, the census numbers would support the earlier sentiments of Mr. Roberson as in the coming years it is estimated that tens of thousands more will “head into town.”