Census report: 11 cities in Colorado top 100,000 in population | SkyHiNews.com

Census report: 11 cities in Colorado top 100,000 in population

Burt Hubbard
The Denver Post

Sheridan emerged last year as the Colorado city with the second-largest percentage of growth.

The latest U.S. Census Bureau population estimates released Tuesday also showed that Boulder and Centennial cracked the 100,000 mark in 2009.

Sheridan, the small city south of Denver, saw its population rise 13.9 percent, to 6,188 people, between July 2008 and July 2009.

Before last year, the city’s population had either stagnated or declined during the decade.

A.J. Krieger, city manager of Sheridan, said the town is benefiting from a large, new apartment complex combined with the trend toward people moving closer to the urban center.

“We expect it is attracting residents who previously probably would have never considered Sheridan for a variety of reasons,” Krieger said.

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Suzanne Trujillo, property manager for the Riverton complex near West Hampden Avenue and South Santa Fe Drive, said the 316-unit project is 99 percent leased. It opened last year.

Trujillo said it has attracted students and workers at nearby Swedish Medical Center, Dish Network offices and the Sports Authority store.

Only the town of Timnath, next to Fort Collins, had a bigger percentage growth last year.

Rebecca Davidson, Timnath town manager, said two new subdivisions with about 250 homes have sprung up in the past several years. Timnath’s population rose 27 percent to 631 people last year.

A new elementary school and the small-town feel have attracted new homeowners, she said.

In the metro area, the estimates showed that Centennial and Boulder rose above 100,000 in population – making them the 10th and 11th Colorado cities to surpass the mark. In 2000, there were eight.

Boulder’s rise above 100,000 was due to growth and a city challenge of earlier census estimates as too low, said City Planner Chris Meschuk.

Meschuk said city officials believed the census had undercounted its population, especially at the University of Colorado’s fraternities and sororities. The Census Bureau agreed and increased estimates for 2008 and 2009, he said.

Hitting the 100,000 mark gives the city a boost in state and federal funding, he said. For example, it didn’t automatically qualify for weatherization funds from the federal recovery program last year because it was below 100,000 people, he said.

“We are hoping this opens some doors for the city,” Meschuk said.

Weld County cities, which had dominated the list of fast-growing cities in past years, saw population increases slow last year. Only one city, Lochbuie, had a notable percentage increase in population in 2009.

State demographer Elizabeth Garner said the economic slump and foreclosures hit Weld hard.

“Weld suffered from overbuilding,” Garner said.

However, since 2000 the cities in the county have remained the overall growth leaders. Eight of the 10 fastest-growing places between 2000 and 2009 were in Weld County.

Garner said she expects that to continue next decade because of the county’s position on the Front Range.

“There is a lot of land, it’s on transportation corridors and it’s got more access to water than Douglas County does,” she said.

Then there was the town of Burlington on the Eastern Plains, which posted a 5.3 percent population hike last year to rank in the top 10.

“One word – prisons,” said City Administrator Bob Churchwell.

The state prison in Burlington doubled in size last year and prisoners count in population estimates, Churchwell said.

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