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Rapid growth changing face of Burleson

04/03/2011 11:07 PM

04/04/2011 3:22 PM

BURLESON -- Old Town Burleson is often packed with visitors, drawn by a bevy of restaurants that have opened in recent years. A second high school in the district, Centennial, opened last year, as did the Burleson Recreation Center, aka the BRiCk.

Life is quickly changing in this once-rural place just south of Fort Worth. Burleson is now home to 36,690 residents and is the fourth-fastest-growing city in the western Metroplex.

Population increased about 75 percent from 2000 to 2010, census data show.

"With the population growth, we've added more programs in the city. There are more opportunities," said Burleson High junior Stephanie Killam, 16.

The growth has created new challenges, Mayor Ken Shetter said.

Burleson is a relatively wealthy city, with a median family income of $62,149 in 2009, compared with a Tarrant County median of $54,647, according to American Community Survey statistics released in December.

Only 5.3 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.

But lower-income residents are arriving in larger numbers -- and more children and teens need things to do, Shetter said. "We have more at-risk kids living our community than we've ever had," he said. "If we aren't really proactive, at some point we're going to realize the negative effects of that."

The population remained mostly non-Hispanic white -- 83 percent -- but Burleson is more diverse than a decade ago. In 2010, there were 862 African-American residents, compared with 84 in 2000.

There were 4,219 Hispanic residents in 2010, compared with 1,135 a decade ago.

Other changes: Hill County College and Texas Wesleyan University opened branch campuses; two fire stations were built; and a 170-acre business park is being built near Interstate 35W.

Gordon Dickson, 817-390-7796

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