New estimates show population fall

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 22, 2007

The U.S. Census Bureau recently announced new estimates for Butler County's population and its municipalities, and the government believes there are less people living here now.

However, Ricky McLaney, director of the Butler County Commission for Economic Development, believes these estimates are way off.

&#8220These are simply estimates that are based on trends in 1990, 1980, 1970 and so forth,”

he said. &#8220They don't take into account things that have happened in Butler County since 2000. Since then, Hyundai opened and we had two suppliers locate here. We've had several other businesses either locate here or expand operations already in place.

According to the Census Bureau, they estimate that

from 2000 to 2006, Greenville has decreased in population from 7,231 to 7,087 or a -2.0 percent change. Georgiana's population dropped from 1,737 to 1,609 or a -7.0 percent change. The census estimate for McKenzie is that as of 2006, there were 615 people living there, down from 644. Overall, the estimate for Butler County is that as of 2006, there were only 20,520 people in the county. This number is down from 21,399 in 2000.

Again, McLaney believes these numbers are off. He referenced a study

that the BCCED had made by the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Alabama in March 2005. In that study, Butler County should expect to have an additional 892 households added by 2025.

&#8220Growth will be fairly evenly spread across the period beginning in 2005, with around 200 new households in each five-year interval,” the study states.

This is a 10.4 increase in population by 2025 to 23,859.

By 2010, the population is expected to climb to 22,082.

McLaney said those are simply numbers, that seeing is believing.

&#8220To put in perspective, we had a prospect come in after 9/11,” McLaney said. &#8220He did not come back through Greenville from 2001 to 2007 and when he did, he was amazed at the growth, especially around Exit 130. He told us that we're here every day and that the growth seemed subtle, but to him it was astounding that Greenville had grown so much. The great thing is with all the new developments, the potential is for lots more.”

McLaney's office location is a sign of development. As of last week, the BCCED moved its office from the Depot to the new building at Lurleen B. Wallace Community College.

&#8220It's certainly quieter over here without the trains running through,” he said. &#8220And we are excited about classes resuming in the fall and the students being here. Dr. Thompson and Dr. Krudop have all been very nice about it.”

McLaney said thanks to the new conference room and additional classroom there are already clients lining up to use the facilities.

&#8220We have a leadership group coming in a few weeks, so that's a good sign,”

he said.

&#8220When the conference center is completed we'll likely start holding our Butler County Manufactures' Association meeting here.”

So again, from his new location on the Greenville Bypass, McLaney said he's not worrying about a population decline, but rather the increase coming.

Also, with the move, the BCCED has a new phone number and address and they are: 334-371-8400 and the address is P.O. Box 758, Greenville, 36037.