- Frisco, TX is the country's fastest-growing city, according to a list released by Stacker, based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey. Frisco's population of nearly 118,000 in 2010 grew to 188,000 in 2018, a 59.7% increase.
- Enterprise, NV; Lehigh Acres, FL; Sugar Land, TX; and McKinney, TX rounded out the top five fastest-growing cities.
- Frisco's school district, retail, housing and quality of life are suggested as positive elements contributing to the growth. Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney agrees — especially with the quality school district — and also points out the area's friendliness toward businesses and its draw for sports fans as the home of seven professional sports organizations.
Balancing population growth with city services and operations is an age-old challenge for many cities. But it is crucial to find solutions to keep that balance lest negative effects arise. Citizens could become frustrated or suffer economically from inadequate services, and city infrastructure could suffer stresses from too many people using it without proper maintenance and expansion.
That's why years ago, Frisco leaders began long-range strategic planning to set the stage for meeting citizens' needs while keeping up with the growth pace.
"We have a master plan for every square inch of our community ... That has made dealing with this growth much easier," Cheney told Smart Cities Dive. Besides the existing and ongoing planning processes, "we built our city on public-private partnerships (P3s). That's really been the secret ingredient for Frisco's success."
Infrastructure "definitely is one of the biggest challenges," Cheney said. But advance planning has been priceless to keep Frisco ahead of the curve as it maintains steady growth. One area that has benefited Frisco is advance planning of where roads will be constructed and preserving the right-of-way down the line. Cheney says some other growing communities suffer because they don't give infrastructure enough attention ahead of a population boom.
"You see a lot of fast-growing communities where that is a limiting factor," he said. When an intercity road was being constructed through the area, Frisco was fine because of its right-of-way planning, but "other cities struggled because they didn't plan for it. They relocated utilities and homes ... and businesses so they could build infrastructure," he said.
Much of Frisco was built just within the last decade. Although leaders foresaw continued growth, the pace has been surprising even for them.
"I don't think anyone anticipated [the population] growing as fast as it has grown, especially over the last decade," Cheney said. "Right now we have nearly 1,000 new residents every single month."
Yet city leaders and staff are able to continue offering citizens the services and amenities they need, in a large part due to P3s. The numerous sports facilities are a prime example, but the impact of P3s is wide-reaching.
"Everything we've done has been in collaboration with a private partner... That's a been difference maker," Cheney said.
The state of Texas had a significant presence on the fastest-growing cities list. The list contained 50 cities and 16 — nearly one-third — of those were in Texas. Cheney suggests the main reasons for this could be a manageable cost-of-living, high quality of life, the state's business friendliness that attracts corporate headquarters and job creation. The latter two points are big drivers because where jobs go, people follow, he said. Keurig Dr Pepper is relocating its headquarters to Frisco, and last month the city ranked No. 1 in job growth among mid-sized cities.
"We've always looked at growth as an opportunity," Cheney said. "It was well thought out, well in advance, which has certainly helped us be prepared for when it came."