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POLK CITY, Iowa — Polk City is growing as fast as some of the bigger suburbs in the metro but in different ways and for different reasons.

It’s only been two years since RVTV stopped in Polk City, but that’s enough time to notice that the town has changed. The new census confirms what everybody there has known full well — the town is booming.

“It’s not anywhere near the same as it was when I was growing up,” said Polk City Mayor Jason Morse. “There was about a 20-year span where Polk City — we were happy to see a garage get built. I mean, there was nothing happening in Polk City.”

That sounds cliché, but Polk City can back it up with numbers and anecdotes. Since 1990, Polk City has nearly tripled its population, and it’s done so without giveaways.

“They didn’t go down the tax abatement road. They just said ‘you know what? We’ll grow when it’s time to grow’ and you did see some other communities that did do the tax abatement,” said Morse.

High valuation means Polk City’s services can grow with its population. But that growth won’t be unchecked. Unlike most Iowa towns, it’s a bit landlocked by lakes at Saylorville and Big Creek.

“Every single one of these is backing up to Corps property … You’re not going to get neighbors back behind you,” said Morse. That will almost certainly mean that property in Polk City will keep rising in value and demand.

According to the recent census, Polk City’s population is 5,318 people. Some residents say that’s actually low — but even still, that means since 1990, the town’s population has grown by 178%.

For the sake of perspective, if the City of Des Moines grew at that pace over the last 30 years, it would now have more people than St. Louis, Minneapolis, Cleveland or Miami.

Also consider that as Ankeny, Johnston and Grimes continue to grow, Polk City’s central location gets even more ideal.