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Mat-Su grew by 50 percent in past decade


Written by Patty Sullivan Wednesday, 16 March 2011 15:04 boroughsealMAT-SU-The new U.S. Census numbers show what State economist Neal Fried frequently presents: "The Valley continues to eclipse the rest of the state."

The population of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough grew by 50 percent in the past decade. The 2010 Mat-Su population: 88,995.

"Your gain, of nearly 30,000, is by far bigger than almost all the communities in Alaska," Fried said by phone today.

That's on top of a 49 percent growth rate from the decade prior, 1990 to 2000.

"It certainly documents that, at this point, we're underrepresented in the State Legislature, and we're looking forward to correcting that with the redistricting process," said Borough Mayor Larry DeVilbiss.

Mat-Su has been the fastest growing region of Alaska for more than 15 years. Over the last decade, Mat-Su grew at an average annual rate of 5 percent, while  Anchorage grew at 1.2 percent.

Knik-Fairview is the fastest growing Mat-Su community, located along the northwest bank of Knik Arm, heading toward Port MacKenzie. Knik-Fairview grew by more than 100 percent in the last decade. Its 2010 population of 14,923 is greater than our two largest cities of Palmer and Wasilla combined.

From 2000-2010, some interesting changes:

• The Fishhook community near Hatcher Pass grew by 2,649

• The community of Gateway near the Glenn-Parks highways interchange grew by 2,600

• Meadow Lakes gained 2,751.

• The Lakes (both North Lakes and South Lakes community councils) gained 1,658

• Palmer City gained 1,404

• Wasilla City gained 2,362

• Houston City gained 710

• Big Lake grew by 715

• Rural Point MacKenzie gained 418 people

• Remote Lake Louise dropped by nearly half to 46.

• Most areas off the road system shrank with Skwentna from 111 to 37 people.

• Petersville shrank 27 to 4

How other areas of Mat-Su grew:

• Buffalo Soapstone Road gained 156

• The Butte gained 685

• Lazy Mountain gained 321

• Sutton gained 367

• Willow gained 444

• Talkeetna grew by 104

A rich quality of life is what draws people here. Three mountain ranges are visible, the Chugach, the Talkeetna, and the Alaska Range. More than 2,000 miles of winter and summer trails take locals into the land they love to look at. More land and more house for less money remains attractive. The average price of a single-family home in Mat-Su for the first quarter of 2010 was $239,572. Statewide that average was $277,941. Employment in the Mat-Su continues to grow, an estimated 3 percent in 2010, according to Fried.

"We welcome the growth, but with growth comes challenges, including increasing fire and rescue calls, the cost of new schools, and congested roads," said Acting Borough Manager Elizabeth Gray.

The Mat-Su has three of the top five most deadly state roads in Alaska: the Parks Highway (Wasilla to Big Lake), the Palmer-Wasilla Highway, and Knik-Goose Bay Road. In each case, the traffic count justifies four lanes but the traffic is traveling on two lanes.

For more information call Borough Public Affairs Director Patty Sullivan 745-9577, 355-0103 or psullivan@matsugov.us

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