BROOKLAND — The City of Brookland is anxiously awaiting the return of the 2020 U.S. Census Bureau numbers, Mayor Kenneth Jones said, so it will qualify for more grant money to assist with its explosive of growth.
“We are operating with funding based on 2010 census numbers,” Jones said, noting 10 years ago the city’s population stood at 1,342. Jones said he expects the numbers in this year’s census to reveal Brookland’s population somewhere between 4,850 and 5,100 residents.
“We did a special census in 2014 and our last population count was at 2,962,” Jones said, noting the state only accepted 1,969 as the count. “They only recognized part of our census.
“We manage our money very well,” he added, “but we are waiting on census results so our revenue will go up.”
The recent growth of new subdivisions being built in Brookland is a good indicator that when the next census rolls around again in 2030, the town will more than double its size again.
The city recently approved the addition of two new subdivisions in various stages of development, which puts the city in charge of maintaining those new roads.
Whispering Hills subdivision was approved during January’s city council meeting, as was Cameron Place.
“They have been in the process for the last year of working on the five-phase subdivision,” Jones said.
The city obtained five new streets with the new development – Gulley Street, Samantha Street, Brayden Street, Eva Street and Delle Street.
Cameron Place has added two new streets, Cameron Place and Erin Cove, to the town so far, but Jones said he expects several more.
“In order to put up stop signs, we have to accept them as streets,” he said.
When completed, Jones said Whispering Hills will add an additional 125 single housing units.
Cameron Place is completely finished, Jones said, which includes 20 homes.
Another subdivision called Hidden Creek is the newest development.
“I understand 22 lots have already been sold,” Jones said. “There will be an additional 133 total homes in the subdivision when it is completed.”
The owner of Hidden Creek subdivision, James McCloud, said he chose to develop a property in Brookland simply because he saw the need for more single-family units.
“We felt we could take that land and provide something the community needed,” he said.
Mark Morris, the owner of Mark Morris Construction and the engineer on the Hidden Creek subdivision, said his company installed the sewer, water, electric, cable and built the streets.
“Phase one of the project cost nearly $1 million to complete,” he said.
Morris said he also is providing more single-family dwellings that are zoned in the Brookland School District. Morris is developing a new subdivision called Brookshire, which is located in Jonesboro off Kathleen Drive.
“We will add 118 lots total, with 30 lots available during the first phase,” he said. “I am building there because the people like the school; it’s as simple as that.”
As the housing market continues to grow, Jones said Brookland is in the planning stages of adding new parks to the town, including a sports complex to be constructed on 50 acres.
“We approached the landowners of Whitten Creek apartments,” he said, discovering the owners had sold the apartment complex but still owned 50 acres to the west. “They made us a really great offer.”
The city plans to build a four-field ball complex with a parking area and walking trail.
Jones said it’s something city officials have been considering for some time.
With an offer for the land on the table, Jones said council members have been examining the possibility of restructuring bonds to finance the project.
Although Jones was reluctant to release any solid figures on the cost of the land, the city will be hearing from experts on the cost of building the facility and preliminary drawings of what it might look like.
On Monday night, Micheal McBryde with Stephens, Inc., will be at the city council meeting to discuss those plans, Jones said.
In addition to planning a sports complex, city officials are also listening to the wants and needs of residents. Jones said several community meetings revealed residents want parks added to the town.
“We don’t currently have a park right now,” he said. “The small park we did have, we sold the property. We had plans to move it up the road but we applied for grants and were unsuccessful.”
Currently, residents are using the playground equipment that sits on property owned by Sonic.
Jones said the city owns property at the corners of Bernise and Smith Streets, and E. Matthews and Nelms Street.
“We just need the grants to purchase the equipment.”
Jones said he is proud of the growth happening in Brookland.
“There have been challenges and some failures, but we have tried not to repeat those mistakes,” he said.