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Editorial: Stagnation

The news coming last week from the Weldon Cooper Center is rather disconcerting. In case you missed it, the latest estimates from the center at the University of Virginia show that local population growth (as well as that for much of the rest of the commonwealth) has come to a halt.

Between the 2010 census and the Weldon Cooper Center’s estimate for 2014, the population edged up only slightly in Gloucester (from 36,858 to 37,725) and dropped by 96 in Mathews (down to 8,882).

Planning for growth is difficult, but also challenging and full of promise—building new schools, designating business corridors, setting up and expanding residential services. It’s a chance to create a vision and see it to its fruition.

Planning for limited or no growth presents its own unique set of problems. For instance, how does one pay for aging infrastructure needs with a limited supply of tax dollars coming in? Should local governments look at closing government buildings or scaling back...

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