Town of Iowa soars in growth

February 11, 2011 at 1:56 am

BY John Guidroz, Todd Elliott, Vanessa C. Deggins and Taylor Prejean

Calcasieu Parish census data show that Iowa grew by 11 percent over the last decade, while DeQuincy’s population dropped by about 5 percent.

Other cities that lost residents include Sulphur, with a 0.5 percent decrease; Vinton, a 3.8 percent decrease; and Westlake, a 2.1 percent decrease.

Besides Iowa, Lake Charles was the only parish city that experienced growth — the population rose from 71,757 in 2000 to 71,993 in 2010.

Iowa’s population grew by 11.1 percent over the last 10 years. The census reported 2,996 people in 2010 — 333 more than in 2000.

Mayor Carol Ponthieux said she was “thrilled to see those kind of numbers.” She said the growth could result from people who work in Lake Charles moving to Iowa.

“Our housing costs are cheaper than they can find in Lake Charles,” she said. “And we have a lot of mobile homes and houses that people rent out.”

Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach said last week he was disappointed with the city’s small population increase.

“Over the past year and a half, I think we’ve had some pretty good growth in terms of new areas within the city,” he said. “There’s been a lot of construction of housing within the area.”

Westlake Mayor Dan Cupit said the loss of about 100 residents, or 2.1 percent of the population, isn’t that significant, but is a bit of a surprise.

“I thought we would have more people than in 2000 because of the houses that have been built over the years,” he said.

Cupit said he expects the population to increase in the future as more people move to the area because of Westlake’s new golf course.

According to Cupit, the Louisiana Municipal Association has received notice from some cities who were unhappy with their numbers and plan to appeal the results. He said Westlake won’t.

“With that amount, we don’t stand to gain or lose anything,” Cupit said.

DeQuincy Mayor Lawrence Henagan thinks the city’s population decrease of 4.8 percent, or 163 people, is because people are building outside the city limits.

“They still have DeQuincy addresses, but they aren’t counted in the incorporated area,” he said.

“One solution for the future may be to extend the city’s boundaries to include some outlying subdivisions. That will require extending city utilities, but it’s something we’re looking into.”

Henagan added that even with the population decrease, DeQuincy has “kept its rank as the fourth-largest city in the parish.”

Vinton Mayor Kenny Stinson wasn’t phased by his city’s decrease of 3.8 percent, or 126 people.

“It is what it is,” he said. “We had some increase in housing in Vinton after Hurricane Rita — two housing developments with 50 homes each came in — so we felt that it would be an increase. It was a surprise to us that it wasn’t.”

Mayor Chris Duncan was also surprised at Sulphur’s 0.5 percent decrease of 102 people.

“We thought it would have been close to even or grown a little bit,” he said. “What I find odd is that Vinton dropped, Westlake dropped and we dropped. West Calcasieu dropped, but not when you get into the Carlyss area.”

The census numbers from each district will be a better gauge of the actual population numbers, he said.

Staff Writers John Guidroz, Todd Elliott, Vanessa C. Deggins and Taylor Prejean contributed to this report.

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