More students continue coming to local schools, new businesses are opening and hundreds of homes are set to be built in the next year.
Johnson County continues to be one of the fastest growing counties in central Indiana.
The most recent estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show the county grew by nearly 9 percent since the last Census in 2010, and by nearly 2 percent from 2015 to 2016.
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That puts Johnson County in fourth place among central Indiana counties for growth, behind Boone, Hamilton and Hendricks counties, according to Census data.
Across the county, the impact of that growth is leading to a need for more emergency workers, continued road construction to keep up with added traffic and two new elementary schools planned to open in the coming years to make room for more students.
As more homes are built, more businesses also come to local communities, including expansions in medical services, such as at Johnson Memorial Hospital in Franklin and the addition of a Franciscan Health facility in the Center Grove area.
Both Center Grove and Clark-Pleasant schools are currently planning for new elementary schools due to enrollment growth that has continued for decades.
At Clark-Pleasant schools, officials get a routine update on building permits issued for new houses and has seen a surge in new home building in the last 18 months, Superintendent Patrick Spray said.
Some of the key growth areas are along Worthsville Road, near the new Interstate 65 exit, and along Main Street, east of the interstate. Homes are being built in at least four subdivisions in those areas, which will bring new students to Clark-Pleasant schools, especially elementary schools.
That is why officials have begun the process to plan for a new elementary school that could open by 2021.
And officials have asked for a new demographic study to be done this fall to see if the current growth is on pace with the past projections, or if growth is happening even faster than expected, Spray said.
Center Grove also is building a new elementary school off Morgantown Road, south of County Road 144 in the southern portion of the school district where the most growth is happening. That new school would serve the Bargersville area, including where at least two new neighborhoods with more than 300 homes are planned.
That growth also has a big impact on the Bargersville Fire Department, which has seen its number of runs grow for years, from 1,400 in 2015 to 1,600 last year and 900 so far this year, putting them on track to reach 1,800 runs to medical emergencies, fires and car accidents by the end of the year, Chief Jason Ramey said.
“Every time we add people, traffic congestion, it adds the potential for us to have to respond to more emergency needs,” Ramey said.
During the past few years, the fire department has replaced its equipment and also added 12 new firefighters or medics since 2007.
Currently, the fire department has 34 full-time employees and 30 part-time. They need more employees, but they have to add them gradually to keep a steady property tax rate, Ramey said.
“We try to do it in small bites, but we are behind in staffing, but we do our best to not appear as such,” he said.