ST. CLOUD, Fla. — The city of St. Cloud has seen massive population growth over the past 20 years.
Since 2003, the population has already doubled and according to a new study, the city is expected to add tens of thousands of people over the next few years.
One of the main reasons for this massive growth is that Osceola County is rich with undeveloped land.
Planners said that makes Osceola County prime real estate for developers.
City planners said new growth models have 60,000 people moving into St. Cloud in less than 20 years and likely up to 150,000 people before the area is built out.
That’s because there is a lot of undeveloped land surrounding the city limits and that land is being sold off to developers.
Some problems that the city faces are there aren’t enough schools, office space, services or roads to handle the influx of people, and the biggest obstacle is transportation.
Annexation of those unincorporated areas could mean the city would need more than 30 new parks, 20 more shopping centers and 12 new fire stations.
The fire chief said in just the next five years the department will need to hire 60 new personnel.
The police force will have to at least double.
Commissioners have taken input from the community over the last few months and and planners said they need to act now.
Without annexation, the city will still see 32,000 people within the city limits.
Planners said they need to make it not so dependent on tourism, they have to make it a place where people not only live but play and work too.
They estimate 93% of people head out of St. Cloud to do things like work.
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