Germantown Hills has growth spurt

DeWayne Bartels
Germantown Hills has welcomed a lot of new people since 2000. The U.S. Census Bureau population estimate places the village's growth in the last nine years at more than 50 percent.

Germantown Hills has undergone a growth spurt village president Kenny Mitchell described as “incredible.”

Mitchell said he hopes the growth — pegged by the U.S. Census Bureau at more than 50 percent between 2000 and 2009 just keeps going.

In comparison, recent population estimates for 2009 released by the U.S. Census Bureau show an increase of 2 percent in population for Peoria.

Mayor Jim Ardis told the Peoria Journal Star, “I don’t believe we should measure our growth by comparing other cities.”

“I believe we need to keep diversifying our job base to lessen the impact during recessionary times like we’re experiencing now.”

But, comparison is what Census Bureau figures is going to bring out. It is inevitable.

When looking at growth patterns in the Peoria Metropolitan Statistical Area — which includes Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford counties — Woodford County showed significant growth.

Germantown Hills was estimated to have grown from 2,111 residents to 3,232, a 53 percent jump.

Eureka was estimated to have grown from 4,871 residents to 5,436, an 11 percent jump.

Metamora was estimated to have grown from 2,700 residents to 3,437, a 27 percent jump.

Mitchell said there is a myriad of reasons for the growth in Germantown Hills.

“Top of the list is schools. We’re also close to Peoria, but offer rural living and we also have a low crime rate,” he said.

Taxes, Mitchell said, are not attracting people to Germantown Hills.

“The taxes to me are too high. There’s not enough commercial development here to offset the tax burden on the homeowner,” Mitchell said.

But, he said, the schools and overall quality of life make up for the taxes.

Mitchell said he could not say if Peoria’s woes — including high taxes, crime and District 150 — caused people to leave the city and contributed to Germantown Hills’ growth.

“I don’t know enough about that to comment,” he said. “Everything seems to be good here. I just hope we keep growing.”