Outlook for Lexington includes more growth
Continued growth is Lexington County’s future, according to official estimates. Currently, the county has more than 216,000 people, but the Central Midlands Council of Governments projects the population to grow to approximately 581,000 by 2050.
That’s a 121% population change in 40 years.
Lexington County Administrator Joe Mergo presented these numbers to the Greater Lexington Chamber and Visitor’s Center breakfast Tuesday at Radius Church on West Main Street.
“Small businesses thrive on people coming in to the county,” Mergo said. “These numbers pose some challenges, but I would rather have the challenges of a growing community and not a dying community.”
Mergo stressed the importance of working with Richland County to form an “incredible power source” in terms of economic development and attraction of business.
“These numbers will be as close to Richland County as we have ever been,” Mergo said. “That’s 1.4 million combined people who must find a way to collaborate and cooperate so the word Midlands means something. Workforce will be incredibly important.”
One of the strongest factors drawing people to Lexington County is its highly rated school districts. Mergo said he and his staff are looking for ways to keep families in the county by providing additional experiences that enhance quality of life.
“It is time to embrace the change, but also plan for it and celebrate it,” he said.
The county’s boundaries continue to stretch, as Mergo said the majority of new residential subdivisions in the county are going in around Lake Murray.
“It’s incredible how much development we’ve had in the Chapin area and around Lexington,” he said.
Mergo said his staff aims to provide public service to the community, manage growth and create an innovative financial management plan to keep pace with ever-growing demand.
“The current budget request from our department is $254 million and expected revenue is $210 million, so creativity will be important moving forward,” he said.