- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
The official population count for St. Mary’s County as of July 1, 2011, was 107,484 people, the U.S. Census Bureau reports. That was an increase of 2.2 percent from the local population of 105,151 in the 2010 count.
The population of St. Mary’s County officially topped 100,000 people in July 2007 for the first time, the Census Bureau reported.
The Census Bureau considers all of St. Mary’s County as the “Lexington Park Micropolitan Area” because Lexington Park is the largest urban cluster in the county.
From 2010 to 2011, the Lexington Park Micropolitan Area ranked ninth in the nation for the largest numeric increase in population, the bureau reported.
The Census Bureau names 576 micropolitan areas nationally, accounting for 31 million people.
“It’s hard to gauge what it really tells you,” St. Mary’s County Commissioner Todd Morgan (R) said of the ranking. It doesn’t pinpoint where in St. Mary’s County the growth is occurring.
“Yes, the county has done well. We continue to show we are growing,” he said.
Morgan said he suspects there has been more growth lately around Leonardtown and in the northern county, along with the Wildewood neighborhood in California.
Evergreen Elementary School, at the end of Wildewood Parkway, is “bursting at the seams,” he said, and it’s the newest school in the county.
The $25 million Evergreen opened in August 2009 with room for 646 students. It already uses trailers to fit in more students.
“We’re going to have to find ways to continue to support infrastructure to support a growing population,” Morgan said.
The county commissioners’ recommended budget for fiscal 2013 starts on July 1. Included is $250,000 for the engineering of a new elementary school to serve Leonardtown, with room for 646 new students. That school is being planned on land about to be annexed into Leonardtown, the 172-acre Hayden farm that the county government purchased in 2009 for $5.3 million.
Based on the adequate public facilities section of the county’s zoning ordinance, there is still enough room in schools throughout St. Mary’s County to allow for thousands more homes. Staff members of the St. Mary’s County Department of Public Works said in a Feb. 28 presentation to the commissioners that the schools south of Route 4 have room for 1,966 new homes. The schools north of Route 4 have room for 3,404 new homes.
The county commissioners, on a split vote, also budgeted $1.7 million in fiscal 2013 to continue to purchase land to fully construct FDR Boulevard from California to Pegg Road in Lexington Park. Construction would begin in fiscal 2015 and could divert up to 10,000 vehicles a day off Route 235, the busiest highway in the county.
St. Mary’s County — which the U.S. Census Bureau calls the Lexington Park Micropolitan Area — added 2,333 new residents between July 1, 2010 and July 1, 2011.
That was the ninth-fastest growing micropolitan area in the nation, according to census figures.
The areas that topped the list were Dunn, N.C. (4,578 more people); Daphne-Fairhope-Foley, Ala. (4,452 more); The Villages, Fla. (4,336 more); Seaford, Del. (3,185 more); Hilton Head Island-Beaufort, S.C. (2,869 more); Statesboro, Ga. (2,664 more) and Minot, N.D. (2,527 more).
The Census Bureau also classifies Lexington Park, California and the Chesapeake Ranch Estates in Calvert County as an urbanized area with 58,875 people living in 23,790 homes for a population density of 1,179 people per square mile.
There are 486 urban areas in the country, according to the bureau.