Arnolds Park among state’s 30 fastest-growing cities

Saturday, July 01, 2017

A 120-year-old city in Dickinson County is seeing a lot of new growth.

Arnolds Park added 130 residents since 2010, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released by the State Library of Iowa on Thursday. The community’s 11.5 percent increase over seven years places it among the 30 fastest-growing communities in Iowa. The new numbers reflect estimates from July 1, 2016.

“We’ve seen new construction in our town – and a lot of it has to do with Bridges Bay,” Arnolds Park City Clerk Wanda Thielen said. “Bridges Bay has a new condo building being constructed right now. They have plans for another condo building. They have numerous cabins being built.”

Because “the city of five lakes” is surrounded by water, Arnolds Park can only grow east toward the Pelican Ridge area.

“These are exciting times to see the growth of our city and all of the improvements we are able to make,” Thielen said.

The clerk said growth has led to additional revenue, with just a few drawbacks. New residents require additional, sometimes costly infrastructure. Many of the newest residents are retirees who spend much of their winter in warmer climates.

“It’s hard for us to find members to our council, members to our planning and zoning or board of adjustment,” Thielen said. “A lot of them are snowbirds. They’re not here a lot, so it is hard to get people involved in community projects.”

Altogether, eight of the county's 10 cities grew. The exceptions are Superior, which is down two residents and Terril’s loss of five residents since 2010. Okoboji, Orleans, Wahpeton and West Okoboji remained fairly steady in the latest totals.

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