Archive for Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Tonganoxie grows 32 percent since 2000

Latest U.S. Census Bureau estimate places city’s population at 3,597

July 6, 2005

Since the 2000 federal census, Tonganoxie's population has increased by nearly 32 percent, placing it among Kansas' fastest-growing cities, according to information released last week.

According to estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau, Tonganoxie's population in 2004 stood at 3,597, which is an increase of 869 people from the count made during the 2000 census. Late each June, the Census Bureau releases population estimates for the previous year.

Tonganoxie's break-neck population increases confirm what City Administrator Mike Yanez sees at city hall every day.

"That doesn't surprise me, when you assume we've averaged 100 new residential building permits for each of the last three years," he said. ''... I'm surprised the number is not even higher. We have new water meter service being requested daily. Things are happening around here. It's a healthy community."

And Yanez sees no reason the recent growth should slow. In fact, he believes population increases may pick up, once the city builds a new water tower at the new elementary school site, once a new Kansas Turnpike interchange is constructed south of town and once a new water line is built between Tonganoxie and Kansas City, Kan.

Here's a look at how Tonganoxie's population has changed since the 2000 census, according to estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau. The estimates for the previous year are released annually at the end of June.

¢ 2000 census: 2,728

¢ 2001 estimate: 3,017 up 289

¢ 2002 estimate: 3,187 up 170

¢ 2003 estimate: 3,336 up 149

¢ 2004 estimate: 3,597 up 261

The increase of 869 people shown in the 2004 estimate from the 2000 census represents an increase of 31.8 percent.

"I think developers will continue to be attracted to Tonganoxie because we'll have available utilities," he said.

In particular, an interchange on the Kansas Turnpike should spur additional commercial and industrial development, Yanez said.

"So I only see our population moving upwards in the next five to 10 years," he said.

In informal conversations Yanez has had with local builders and developers, they've told him that many of the community's newcomers have moved from Lawrence.

"I think our land prices and housing prices here are still at a good rate -- $135,000 to 150,000 for a new home," he said.

Tonganoxie's proximity to Lawrence and the Kansas City metropolitan area -- while still maintaining a small-town feeling -- has proven attractive.

"Obviously, we're blessed by having 24-40 going four lanes to Kansas City," Yanez said. "Transportation is the key, and we're in a good spot, and we'll be in an even better spot if we get the turnpike interchange."

Here's a look at populations in other area cities and how those populations have changed since the 2000 census:

Town 2000 census 2004 estimate Change

¢ Lawrence 80,098 81,873 up 1,775

¢ Lansing 9,199 10,117 up 918

¢ Tonganoxie 2,728 3,597 up 869

¢ Eudora 4,307 5,119 up 812

¢ Basehor 2,238 2,999 up 761

¢ De Soto 4,561 5,070 up 509

¢ Bonner 6,768 6,892 up 124

¢ Easton 362 361 down 1

¢ Linwood 374 382 up 8

¢ McLouth 868 852 down 16

¢ Leavenworth 35,420 35,290 down 130

Tonganoxie, along with other cities around the Kansas City and Wichita metropolitan areas, is seeing growth, while other areas of Kansas experience continued population declines.

And Tonganoxie City Council members are working to ensure that population growth continues, said council member Velda Roberts.

Roberts said a major plus for the community was voter approval last November for a $25.3 million bond issue that's financing a new middle school, as well as significant improvements to the district's other buildings.

In addition, Roberts pointed to the recent completion of the sewage treatment plant and plans for the new water line as indicators of the city's commitment to the future.

She said Tonganoxie is something of a retreat for people who work either in the metropolitan area or Lawrence.

"We can always come back home and relax," she said. "That's one of the things, as a community, that we're trying to protect. We do have the nucleus of a viable downtown business district, which I think a lot of small communities would give their eye teeth for."

Both Roberts and Yanez are optimistic about Tonganoxie's future.

"This is going to be a real exciting place to be for the next five years," Yanez said.

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