Pflugerville 11th-fastest growing in nation

It might not have made the top 10, but numbers released by the U.S. Census Bureau this week show Pflugerville continues to be one of the fastest growing cities in the nation.

At 57,122 residents, Pflugerville is the 11th-fastest growing city with a population of at least 50,000, making it a major contributor to the massive growth occurring in Central Texas. In 2010, the city was ranked the 8th-fastest for cities with at least 10,000 residents, according to the Census.

The city is now the third-fastest growing city in Travis County, with Manor and Bee Cave — which both have populations under 10,000 — becoming the fastest. From 2010 to 2015, Pflugerville grew by 21.7 percent, according to the Census.

Pflugerville officials were quick to note the Census data does not include the roughly 20,000 residents who live within Pflugerville’s extra-territorial jurisdiction.

“When you include our ETJ, at least a chunk of that Travis County growth is happening in those subdivisions and MUDs,” Pflugerville Mayor Jeff Coleman said. “They are definitely Pflugerville-centric.”

That growth outlining the city has influenced decisions in the council chambers, where Coleman said city staff and council members must balance the needs of current and future residents. He used the city’s decision to widen Weiss Lane — which extends beyond city limits — as an example of that mode of thinking.

“The council is trying to look beyond just today and look at accommodating the citizens that will be in the city years to come,” he said.

Coleman said since many outside city limits use city parks, the council chose to use a portion of the utility fund those same residents pay to be set aside for city park improvements.

Amy Madison, executive director of the Pflugerville Community Development Corporation, said growth throughout the area is setting the stage for development in the northern and eastern parts of the city.

“For us, we need to continue to bring commercial, industrial and a retail base to help offset the population growth,” she said. “That’s what offsets costs associated with rooftops. It’s important to maintain that balance.”

Pflugerville Chamber of Commerce President Patricia Gervan-Brown said she has noticed population growth firsthand as those new faces become members of the chamber.

“I remember when there was nothing but rooftops and we were running the city on property taxes,” she said. “It is so much more diversified now.”

Coleman said why people move to Pflugerville has gone beyond affordability and now includes good roads, proximity to jobs, plentiful parkland or the city’s small-town feel. Austin’s national reputation is also a factor, he said.

“Pflugerville benefits more from Austin’s reputation than Austin itself,” he said.

Pflugerville school district Superintendent Alex Torrez said in a statement that the quality and reputation of area schools can be attributed to local rapid growth.

“Fortunately, Pflugerville ISD residents and our board of trustees have had the foresight to be supportive of school growth projects, such as the bond referendum that was passed with almost 70 percent support in 2014,” he said. “This allows for (the school district) to stay in front of the growth with new schools and infrastructure.”

Mike Parker, Austin Community Newspapers Staff, Austin Statesman, 5/19/2016,