Cartersville continued to be the largest and fastest growing city in Bartow County this decade as other cities grew only slightly in the latest U.S. Census Bureau estimates.

However, despite Cartersville’s comparatively fast growth rate among Bartow’s cities, it still was well below the growth rates of other neighboring cities which serve as the seats of government in their counties.

The census bureau recently issued estimates for population and growth rates for cities within Georgia and the U.S.

Cartersville grew in population by 1,410 people, or about 7%, between 2010 and 2018, the estimates showed. Its 2010 population of 19,731 increased to 21,141 by 2018.

The next closest city in number of new residents was Adairsville which added 270 new residents in the eight-year period — growing from 4,648 in 2010 to 4,918 in 2018, the estimates showed.

Other population estimates for Bartow’s cities showed:

♦ Euharlee added 209 new residents between 2010 and 2018 as it grew from 4,136 residents in 2010 to 4,345 in 2018.

♦ Emerson added 117 new residents to grow to a 2018 population of 1,587.

♦ White added 52, growing to 722 residents in 2018.

♦ Kingston added 17 residents to grow to 654 residents in 2018.

♦ Taylorsville added eight residents in eight years to grow to an estimated population of 218.

Still, the growth rates of the county seats of Cherokee and Paulding dwarfed Cartersville’s rate of growth and number of new residents.

Canton in Cherokee County grew by 24% while Dallas in Paulding County grew by 18% between 2010 and 2018.

Cartersville Mayor Matt Santini said the numbers do show Cartersville is growing more slowly than some neighboring cities but “we know we’re going to grow because of our proximity to Atlanta.”

“Growth is coming up I-75,” he said.

Cartersville has not “exploded in a way that hasn’t allowed us to manage that growth” since 2010, he said.

“We’ve been able to preserve a good quality of life and a great sense of community while we inch upward with population.”

“What we do want to do, obviously, is grow the right way, bring in quality industries to town,” he said. “Being a place where people want to do business.”

Santini added that with growth “obviously comes the need for expanded services.”

Residents want more services and expect more from the city government and the city is “still working hard to try to do that.”

He noted he took office in 2008 at the start of the Great Recession. The economic downturn hampered job growth and the housing market throughout metro Atlanta for at least five years into the middle of the current decade.

“The better part of my time as mayor was spent, kind of, holding on to the side of the pool and riding out the recession,” Santini said.

“It’s good to see growth and to see expansion — to have the people here and moving in the right direction,” Santini said.

The mayor said the city does not have a target number for population growth and is not “out actively recruiting and seeking people to get annexed into the city.”

“It’s not like we’re going out and soliciting people to get annexed into the city,” Santini said. “We’ve got a great relationship with the county government and they do a great job of providing their services as well.”

The mayor said he prefers to maintain or develop what is already within the city’s limits rather than trying to expand its borders.

“Personally, my focus with Cartersville is not with merely growing by land area,” he said. “I think there are a lot of areas of the city that could be redeveloped.”

He said a landowner who “wants to be a part of us” can ask the city council to annex and designate a zoning classification for the land if it is adjacent to the city limits.

“Typically, somebody will approach us and want to be annexed. We don’t do it against anybody’s will and we don’t actively solicit it,” Santini said.

After city engineering and planning officials review the request, they give their recommendations to the city planning commission which then recommends to the city council if the land should be annexed, Santini said.

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