Roads and police protection will remain focal points for Huntersville in the next couple of decades as the town continues to address its rapid population growth, officials said.
With a population of 46,773, the town is now North Carolina's 19th-largest municipality and the fastest growing large municipality in the state, according to 2010 Census numbers.
"Clearly, the cost of living and attractiveness of being on Lake Norman and yet accessible to Charlotte are the driving factors," said town commissioner Ken Lucas of the recently released census numbers.
National media seem to agree. BusinessWeek named Huntersville the fourth-best affordable suburb in America in 2010, and in 2009, Forbes named the town the second-best place in the United States to move.
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But the explosive growth - the town grew by 728 percent between 1990 and 2000, and then by 87 percent during the last decade - has brought pressure as well.
Town commissioner Ron Julian pointed to the Police Department as an example.
When town officials approved the department's 8,000-square-foot building 10 years ago, they expected it to last about 30 years.
But during the last 10 years, the department has grown from 55 sworn officers to 82.
Town residents will vote on a new 50,000-square-foot department building in November, said Julian.
In light of a steady increase in calls for service and certain types of crime during the last decade of growth, Police Chief Phil Potter said one of his main missions has been to increase the number of sworn officers.
Right now, there are 1.75 officers for every 1,000 residents, said Potter.
Chief Potter said he'd prefer that figure be 2 to 2.5 officers per 1,000 or better.
"We're trying to keep up with our call load," said Potter.
Many town staff and officials also mentioned roads as the top issue in which the town needs to improve to adequately serve residents.
"We're working very aggressively toward making sure we widen I-77," said Bill Russell, chairman of the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce. "We're also focused on trying to make sure we have a holistic transportation plan, including bringing a high-speed commuter rail to the area."
Finding ways for people to move around the area will become increasingly important over the next decade, when Huntersville officials expect the population to grow to 60,000. By 2030, that number may be nearly 80,000, officials said.
Town manager Greg Ferguson said transportation improvements will require cooperation between the town, county and state. After all, he said, most of the major thoroughfares in Huntersville are maintained by the N.C. Department of Transportation.
"We're making sure they're aware of the needs and growth in this area and that they're committed to providing us those resources," said Ferguson.