Feb 27, 2011 8:50 PM by Matt Stafford

Population gains for El Paso County good for some

El Paso County's population grew 20 percent, according to the 2010 census, making it now the most populated county in the state.

That kind of growth is a boast to the local economy for sure, but within the county it's not spreading evenly; so while some parts of the county are booming others aren't doing as well.

"It was all filled 10 years ago and now half the shops in each little shopping center are empty," says Richard Dibiasio, looking down North Academy Blvd. When Dibiasio first moved to Colorado Springs more than two decades ago he picked the area near Academy and Dublin because he thought there was a lot going on. He says it's changed a lot in the last 10 years.

"The buildings are the same but it just doesn't have the same influx of people," says Dibiasio. However he says Academy, looking north from Dublin, is completely different.

"It's unusual to see this type of growth, particularly in a period when the economy is doing badly," says Fred Crowley, senior economist with the U.C.C.S. Forum.

However, no matter the economy, businesses will set up where there is money to be made, and Crowley says that's why were seeing many move north.

"All of the sudden the stores see the younger households with rising income and family size, the stores follow them," says Crowley. To Crowley, much of that following is leading businesses out of Colorado Springs; to places like Fountain, Falcon and Monument.

Monument's changes in the last decade were enough for Jason Mansfield to buy a Nick and Willy's Pizza franchise about a year ago.

"It seems like it's continually growing," says Mansfield. That's translates into making a lot of pizzas, which is great for the county, but as for Colorado Springs -- which probably would have been the more attractive location years ago -- Crowley says that move outward could hurt in the long run.

"They're no longer traveling into the city to spend their money and be taxed, they're spending it locally," says Crowley.

However Mansfield location has been working for him, so he's happy where he is.



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