North Texas City Services Challenged by Population Growth

North Texas City Services Challenged by Population Growth
Drone view of qa neighborhood | Image by Shutterstock

As cities across North Texas experience explosive growth, city leaders are faced with the challenge of meeting the growing demand of an increasing population.

For instance, Celina, a town situated just north of Prosper, has doubled from roughly 18,000 to 36,000 residents over the past three years, and city officials say the biggest challenge is ensuring city services can keep up with demand.

Celina’s fire and police chiefs, mayor, and city manager spoke with NBC 5 about the joys and challenges of leading a small city through explosive growth.

Mark Metdker, the city’s fire chief, said with all the ongoing construction, locals get used to seeing their street ends blocked.

“That’s part of what you have to put up with here in this intense growth,” he said.

As cities grow in population, so too does competition for resources. This added competition can make it challenging for the city’s services to keep up with demand.

“We’re always a little bit behind,” said Celina City Manager Jason Laumer.

Celina employs roughly 46 police officers, but as the city’s population increases, the police department has seen an influx in the number of 911 calls, said Police Chief John Cullison.

Cullison added that traffic is one of the city’s biggest complaints, and Fire Chief Metdker says it is one of the city’s greatest hurdles.

Between the traffic and construction, the fire department’s response times are not what Metdker would like to see. The department is shooting for six to seven minutes maximum, but with only two fire stations in the city, it can take his crews more than 10 minutes to get to the other side of town.

Metdker expects this will improve when Fire Station No.3 is completed.

The construction of Fire Station No.3 is set to break ground in late summer or early fall. In total, the chief says Celina will likely have a minimum of 15 fire stations. Locations for 11 stations have already been acquired.

To help residents adjust for the future, town leaders have focused on communicating the status of new businesses, infrastructure upgrades, and more. For instance, both Methodist Health and Scottish Rite recently announced land purchases to extend their healthcare services to Celina residents.

Celina Mayor Sean Terry remarked that maintaining the heart and soul of the small town is the biggest challenge.

“It’s making sure that you remember where you came from, keeping that heartbeat of Celina — of the long-timers that have been here — but also respecting the newcomers,” said Terry.

“We’re very rural heritage, you know, we try to honor that heritage. But I think you can only manage growth, you can’t stop growth,” added Laumer.

News and stories about Celina’s people, businesses, and groups can be found on the Life in Celina Podcast. On Fridays, Mayor Terry uses Facebook Live to share regular information and answer questions.

The city’s updated strategic plan can be read here.

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1 Comment

  1. caseyp

    No mention of Princeton. Princeton is totally out of control. Roads are jam packed every early to late morning and early to late afternoon. City council is approving hundreds of new residences every week and they have no plan to do anything about traffic. People in Princeton are forced to work in other cities because there are very few places to work other than Walmart and fast food places. Mostly because the mayor is also a real estate agent.


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