Population growth excites Gillette officials and business owners - KOTA Territory News

Population growth excites Gillette officials and business owners

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Karl DeCock is one of five owners of Gillette Brewing Company, a microbrewery that will open this spring in a building that houses Win Kitchen and Bath Design until that moves in a month.

And with the state of the country's economy, you'd think Karl would be less optimistic.

"We've all had many a conversation with our wives, explaining to them how good of an idea this really is, especially here in Gillette," said DeCock.

But why is it a good time to open up shop in Gillette?  U.S. Census data shows Gillette's population has grown by 10,000 since 2000.  More than 30,000 people now call Gillette home.

"I see continued investment in Gillette.  I saw it throughout the last ten years.  I continue to see it today.  We're still maturing in economic growth," said Gillette Senior City Planner Michael Surface.

DeCock will have to wait until early May to show that Gillette Brewing Company is open.  Since city officials expect Gillette's population to grow to 50,000 people in 20 to 25 years, DeCock expects his business to stay open a long time.

"It's pretty exciting.  Right now there's a lot of push, especially downtown on the main street to try to bolster a lot of the businesses that are down here," said DeCock.

City planners have big ideas to help downtown deal with the increased traffic, starting with a revitalization project that will completely redo Gillette Avenue next year.

"Remake the street and put in new infrastructure.  The intent is to help create jobs.  The intent is to help draw people downtown," said Surface.

DeCock can't wait to see the effects.

"The more we can do to bring people downtown to increase shoppers and visitors and everything to downtown Gillette is only going to benefit us as Gillette as a whole," said DeCock.

Over the past three years Gillette's population has averaged a gain of 500 people per year.

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