Small towns fuel Wake County's population boom

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Wake County small towns are booming.

Wake County is booming. It's the worst-kept secret in the Triangle, but thanks to estimates from the most recent census, there are numbers to support that claim.

Six of the state's 10-fastest-growing towns are in Wake County. They include, in no specific order, Knightdale, Wake Forest, Fuquay-Varina, Rolesville, Morrisville, and Holly Springs

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Each town has experienced a 28% growth since 2010; with Rolesville leading the pack at 82% growth. That's a substantial growth rate for the county's smallest town.

"I've definitely seen growth in the area," said Tina Czysz. "There's a lot more people, a lot more traffic."

Houston transplant Maria Amariz has called Fuquay-Varina home since 1984. The adjustment was aggressive when she first moved, but has since been more relaxed.

"Well I thought it was going to be more crime and stuff like that," Amariz told ABC11. "And I thought I would have to move because with all these people coming from the north after 9/11 it's going to be really bad. And it's not like that."

Amariz said she also feels infrastructure should keep up with the increase in new residents. For one, she would like to see a commuter bus from Fuquay-Varina to Wake Tech for students who don't have cars to get them to the campus.

On the other side of the Triangle in Wake Forest, Mayor Vivian Jones welcomes the surge.

"It's just a great place to be," Jones told ABC11. "Because we have tremendous people here. They're just so friendly and nice. Great volunteers who do so much for our community."

Jones says it's that draw that led a mayor in Texas, whom she did not identify, to praise the town.

"I had a hot dog for lunch at Shorty's, and I went to the Meet in the Street Festival, and visited lots of places," recalled Jones from the email she had received from the mayor. "But he said the people were so friendly and nice and answering (his) questions. And I think that's the thing that wins everybody over."

Casey Dolan, a 10-year resident, agrees.

"It went from rural to mellow to now a little more active," Dolan said. "Reminds me a lot of Savannah, Georgia in a way," Dolan said. "But it's fun. It's a fun kind of busy. It's a healthy growth."

For some, more growth means a threat to the small town charm that gives the town appeal. Dolan, however, said businesses should continue supporting the community to maintain that vibe.

"They know what their community wants. They give back to their community," said Dolan. "By owning businesses and offering places that are run by the community, (it) helps keep that small-town-knows-everybody community."

Mayor Jones says construction on the heavily-traveled Capital Boulevard will begin "in the next three years" to transform it into a freeway.

"I think if people were a bit more laid back with their driving habits, it'd be a little bit more manageable," Dolan said. "Once we get the money in and the towns start getting more money from the people who live here, we're going to get bigger roads, wider roads, more ways for traffic to disperse. It's going to be a lot easier."

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