Asbury population booming since 2000 Census - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Asbury population booming since 2000 Census

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The city of Asbury's population has grown more than 80 percent since the 2000 Census The city of Asbury's population has grown more than 80 percent since the 2000 Census

Asbury is booming, thanks in part to the economic development efforts in the greater Dubuque area.

The City of Asbury's population has grown more than 80 percent from 2000 until now.

This recent boom comes in light of humble beginnings, city administrator Beth Bonz said.

Back in 1933, when Asbury officially became a city, "it was nothing more than two cemeteries and nothing in the middle," Bonz said with a laugh. "A couple of residents have said that to me."

While cemeteries and some agricultural land still exist within city limits, Asbury is anything but a dying town.

From the 2000 Census to the one in 2010, Bonz said, "we've grown from a population of 2,450 to a population of 4,385, and we continue to have pretty steady residential building growth in the community."

She estimated since the 2010 Census, Asbury has added 1,000 more residents. That would bring the growth rate from 2000 to 116 percent.

She said the boom is thanks to neighboring Dubuque, a city that is attracting new businesses and expanding the existing ones. Plus, Bonz said, the Dubuque Community School District added a couple of new schools nearby in recent years, attracting additional families.

To help accommodate this growth, the city has plans to build a brand-new $3.6 million community services campus next to Asbury Park, to house the police department, city hall and library. Currently, the police department is in an old one-room schoolhouse, city hall is located in a small building that used to be a bank and the library is in a space the city leases.

"The city doesn't have an identity," Asbury mayor Jim Adams said. "When you come into Asbury, there's a sign, but other than that, you don't feel like you've changed cities, not like we feel we need to distinguish ourselves from a great city like Dubuque, but we want our identity, and this will do that because we'll have the decorative lighting, we'll finally have a place as a city for the residents to come together to meet."

He said city hall and other municipal buildings are aging, too small and no longer cost-effective to meet Asbury's growing needs.

"There's just code issues, there's space issues, a lot of reasons that we need to either spend a lot of money updating our facilities or move into one that everything comes together: a one-stop-shop for all the residents," Adams said.

The community services campus is a project nearly four years in the making. City leaders hope to have it open by July of 2015.

In addition to that development, the city is in the midst of expanding one of its parks, with plans that include a splash pad. Leaders expect that will continue to draw families to Asbury.

The city is holding a public information meeting on its proposed community services campus. That's at 6:30 p.m. on Tues., April 15 at the Meadows municipal golf course, where the city currently holds its council meetings. There, the city will address funding for the project, among other topics.

The city plans to partner with area residents and regional and state grant resources to fund and build the 15,980 square-foot structure. The library portion of the $3.6 million project is $1.6 million. Bonz said the city hall and police station portion of the building, "will be funded with a combination of revenues from the sale of buildings and general obligation bonds."

Ideally, city leaders say, construction of the municipal building will begin late this summer.

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