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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Galloping Growth

Posted March 16, 2006

The US Census Bureau is out with its list of America's fastest growing counties. I knew Johnston County would be on the list. I've seen all the rapid growth around Clayton, Smithfield and Selma. But Johnston is not the fastest growing county in NC. It's Union County. That's just east of Charlotte and the home of Wingate College. Former US Senator Jesse Helms was born in Union County. So was Erskine Bowles' father Skipper who ran for governor in 1972 and led the fund raising drive for the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill. Growth in Union County makes sense. Land there is cheaper than Mecklenburg. It's very similar to the situation here in the Triangle involving Wake and Johnston Counties. I was surprised to see Hoke County on the list of the fastest growing areas. I suppose it is partially related to the expanding military role of neighboring Fort Bragg. Can you name the two fastest growing counties along the coast. It is Currituck to the north and Brunswick to the south. Brunswick has an incredible number of golf courses and some beautiful beaches. Currituck is also blessed with some beautiful beaches and some very expensive homes. But I worry about these counties and their ability to handle more growth especially with another rough hurricane season on the horizon and predictions of more coastal erosion. I also worry about damage to estuaries and sounds. Growth needs to be orderly with much thought given to preserving water quality and nautral habitats. Can you named the fastest growing county in the US? Flagler County, Florida leads the list. I'm surprised by that with all the bad press Florida has had in recent years due to hurricanes, drought, sinkholes and fires.
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