BARTOW, Fla. — Bartow is a quaint town that enjoys the ambiance of small-town America.
“Beautiful old homes, great neighborhoods, you enjoy just being here,” said Mayor Steve Githens.
Bartow has grown slowly because the city had little land available for residential development. A lot of the area was still devoted to agriculture and phosphate mining.
“Clear Springs they have the land out to the east and to the south. Mosiac has land to the west so that’s what pretty much has bounded our growth,” Githens said.
Now, that's beginning to change. Last year the city approved the Wind Meadows South subdivision project. It will contain 836 homes when complete.
The Polk County Commission also approved a 562-home subdivision. Githens told ABC Action News these aren’t the only housing communities in the works.
“Directly north we’ve got a project by the name of Stuart’s Crossing and that’s going to be a fairly big one. Hundreds of homes will be built there. Then over on 17, we have 99 homes that are going to be built there,” he said.
The current population of Bartow is about 21,000. Some residents are concerned roads and schools can’t handle the residential growth.
“Bartow high school is wrapping up a $50 million project to renovate and expand the footprint of the school,” said Githens.
Githens said the city is also looking to attract more industries that will bring jobs and skilled workers.