BOISE, Idaho — Nampa is Idaho's third-largest city by population, behind only Boise and Meridian. Like those two cities, and the rest of the treasure valley, Nampa is growing at a rapid rate as more and more people move here. Nampa has actually been seeing leaps in population over the last 40 years.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 1990, Nampa's population was 29,899. By 2000 the population had grown to 54,770. Between 2000 and 2010 the population climbed by nearly 27,000 to 81,557. The most recent census in 2020 found Nampa's population to be 100,200.
And the population has spiked even more in the last two years. According to World Population Review, 108,469 people now call Nampa home.
Growth doesn't happen in a vacuum. Cities have to adjust and plan how to manage that growth.
What will the transportation needs be and how do they pay for it? What about individual property rights, zoning decisions, development approval or denial, and collaboration among cities? What are the influencing factors in the decision-making process? What do our leaders have to consider?
That process is the focus of the discussion with Nampa Mayor Debbie Kling in this edition of Viewpoint. The following is an excerpt from the interview.
Doug Petcash: How often is growth a topic of discussion in your office?
Mayor Debbie Kling: I think every single day. We think about every day and we talk about it almost every day.
Doug Petcash: What's your Viewpoint on the pace of growth in Nampa currently?
Mayor Kling: Well, we've been growing incredibly fast as you know. And it's interesting, though, we were just having a discussion actually amongst leaders from the Treasure Valley and amongst the mayors, and I think one of the things we've talked about, and I've shared, is that the last decade wasn't the fastest-growing decade. It was the two prior. What we're dealing with right now is the accumulated growth and the lack of preparation and infrastructure investment as this growth has accumulated.
Doug Petcash: Before we get into the decision-making process, what are those challenges that growth presents to the city of Nampa?
Mayor Kling: I think there are two fundamental, really big challenges. One is streets and transportation funding because we're behind based on that accumulated growth and there has been a lack of funding for transportation improvements, and that's what we're hearing from our people. The other greatest challenge that we're facing, and this is across the Treasure Valley as a whole, it isn't just us alone in Nampa, it's really a regional issue in the Treasure Valley, but it's the cost of living has gone up. The housing costs have increased so significantly, yet our wages haven't. Some wages have gone up, minimum wages. But it's the conflict or the convergence of the increased housing costs with wages not going up to meet them.
For the last five years the city of Nampa has been doing in-depth community surveys to find out how the residents feel about their city as a place to live, work, play and raise a family. On this edition of Viewpoint Mayor Kling discusses the preliminary findings of this year's survey. Viewpoint airs Sunday mornings at 9 o'clock on Idaho's NewsChannel 7.
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