New families coming to Johnson County are looking a little further south for their new home.
For years, growth in the county mainly was concentrated in the northern areas, including Greenwood and the northern Center Grove area.
Those areas are still popular, but Bargersville has become the leader in population growth among local communities.
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In the past five years, the town’s population has grown by more than 70 percent, which is partially due to annexations in 2010 that brought in more than 2,000 new residents at once.
But that growth is continuing, without adding in new land. Between 2014 and 2015, the town’s population grew by 3 percent, the most of any Johnson County community, and beating growth in Carmel, Fishers and Zionsville, according to recent population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Other local communities continued to grow, but at a slower pace. The next two fastest growing communities were Greenwood and New Whiteland, which both grew by just under 2 percent between 2014 and 2015.
The impact of that growth is being felt in multiple areas, from new development to more children in schools.
Center Grove schools had to move more than 700 students to new schools at the start of this school year due to more growth than expected, especially in the southern White River Township area, which includes Bargersville.
New development is starting in order to meet the needs of a growing population, including a new Kroger and shopping center at Smokey Row Road and State Road 135.
And home construction in Bargersville also is booming.
“It is just poised to be that next hot spot,” local developer Mike Duke said.
“It is just the next progression of the growth we have seen in White River Township.”
Bargersville is the next growth area, as people continue to come to White River Township and Center Grove schools, but move further away from Indianapolis, he said.
With the location just a bit further south, motorists have more options for traveling both east and west and north and south, such as State Road 37, but can still easily get to downtown Indianapolis. That also makes Bargersville attractive to families working in Indianapolis, Bloomington or Columbus, he said.
At the same time, the town has little touches and details that make it attractive, such as a focus on redeveloping downtown with new restaurants and attractions, he said.
In the last seven months, three new neighborhoods have been approved that will add more than 700 new homes in the next several years. One of those is Duke’s development, Aberdeen, which would bring more than 200 homes to the area of County Road 144 and Morgantown Road.
That area along County Road 144 is where all three new developments are planned, said Julie Young, Bargersville director of development.
The town works with the fire department, police department, schools and utilities to make sure they are aware of new developments, so they can plan for them, Young said.
But officials also are considering what they need to do in order to be ready for more residents, such as road improvements and updating the master plan for sewer improvements, she said.