New houses going up in Gates of St. John. Staff photo by John J. Watkins
New houses going up in Gates of St. John. Staff photo by John J. Watkins
St. John, Cedar Lake and Winfield all ranked among the fastest-growing places in Indiana last year.

An analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by the Indiana Business Research Center at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business found that 17 of the top 20 fastest-growing communities in Indiana last year were either in the Indianapolis metro or Lake County, the second-most populous county in the state of Indiana.

"Looking at differences between urban and rural communities, these population estimates show that most Hoosiers live in cities or towns," said Matthew Kinghorn, senior demographer at the Indiana Business Research Center.

"Nearly 37% of the state's population lived in one of Indiana's 21 cities with a population of at least 50,000 last year," Kinghorn said. "Roughly 19% of Hoosiers lived in an incorporated place of between 10,000 and 49,999 residents, while another 12% lived in one of the 485 Indiana cities or towns with fewer than 10,000 residents."

Indianapolis metro area accounted for the top five spots statewide, with 7.7% growth in Westfield, 7.4% in Whitestown, 7% in McCordsville, 5.7% in Avon and 5.4% in Bargersville.

St. John grew by an estimated 4.9% in population last year.

"St. John’s ranking in the top 10 population growth in the State of Indiana can be attributed to many factors: excellent home appreciation due to well-established high standards; exemplary school systems; proximity to regional transportation routes including I-65, I-80, I-94, US 30, and US 41; and our expanding park programs and park features," Town Manager Joseph Wiszowaty said. "This is why many residents choose St. John as 'a town you can call home.'"

St. John adjusts to the growth by updating its planning, Wiszowaty said.

"The town plans to expand our development to include robust commercial corridors to bring in higher-end restaurants, retail and mixed-use," he said.

"We are working with developers to plan for the future for St. John," Wiszowaty said. "Last July, the town instituted a Road Impact Fee to help with our future road capacity so that costs are not passed on to residents in the form of increased property taxes. In fact, St. John boasts the lowest property tax rate in Lake County. This makes St. John a desirable town to live whether you are buying a first home, upgrading to accommodate an expanding family, or choosing a maintenance-free home to enjoy retirement."

Last year, Cedar Lake grew by 3.9% followed by Winfield at 3.7%.

"I would attribute Cedar Lake’s responsible government that has consistently lowered taxes over the years while still making large investments in public infrastructure and services," Town Manager Chris Salatas Jr. said. "The Cedar Lake Town Council has invested millions into water, sewer, and stormwater infrastructure as well as local roads, sidewalks, and parks all to enhance the quality of life for those who live here or are planning to move here."

The population growth has driven more commercial development in town, he said.

"Our commercial ecosystem is thriving providing residents with many new businesses and restaurants to choose from. A new 33-acre business park opening on U.S. 41 is a testament to Cedar Lake’s commercial viability," he said. "The town also encourages and fosters community events that draw in residents. Naturally, the 800-acre lake is also a big draw for the community as it provides a natural amenity for recreation that many communities do not have."

Overall, more than two-thirds of the Hoosier state's 6.8 million residents live in incorporated cities or towns, while about 2.2 million Indiana residents live in unincorporated rural areas, the Indiana Business Research Center estimates. Cities and towns drove 72% of Indiana's total population growth last year.
© Copyright 2022, nwitimes.com, Munster, IN