Bryan County is among the top 10 fastest growing counties in Georgia, according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau Population Division on Thursday.
Bryan County also ranked 44 out of the top 100 counties in the nation.
"I’m not surprised. People have discovered Bryan County, both the coastal area and our rural area in the north end," Mayor Judy Cook said. "People are looking for a quality of life that Bryan County can offer to them – we’ve got a little bit of it all."
The Census Bureau estimated Bryan County’s population to be 28,792 on July 1, 2006. On July 1, 2007, that number was estimated to be 30,132, or an increase of 1,340. The increase was about 4.6 percent based on the population numbers."We’ve stayed around number 10 in Georgia for a while now and with everything else that’s going on in some of the faster growing areas, I think Bryan County will move up from this level," county commission Chairman
this level," county commission Chairman Jimmy Burnsed said. "With the development in both the north and south ends of the county, I think we’ll see those numbers continue to increase in the future."
Burnsed said he thinks the ranking is a good thing.
"It’s a testament that people want to be in the coast of Georgia and even though we’ve had good growth, I don’t think it’s out of control growth – that’s a real issue, the control," he said. "The little bit of a slowdown we’ve got right now is probably good for us so we can stop and catch our breath before things turn around. We don’t have as much inventory as those fast growing counties around Atlanta, so our rebound will come much quicker."
But not everyone thinks the growth is under control.
Local resident Lynda Morse is a political activist who is frequently critical of local government.
"I do applaud the things the county is doing," Morse said. "But I think we’re dictated too much by growth."
Morse pointed to issues such as room in the schools and concerns with water, as why the county doesn’t always have all the answers for handling one of the fastest growing counties.
"Progress is inevitable. Growth means we thrive," she said. "But we can’t do it at the cost of the majority of the people, which is what I see happening a lot right now. We need the growth but we’ve got to have the infrastructure in place to handle it the right way."
Of the top 100 fastest-growing counties, Georgia had 18 on the list – the most for any state in the country.
Mayor Richard Davis could not be reached for comment.