Summerville now SC's 7th largest city

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) -- The 2012 census shows that Summerville is growing rapidly. It's not the seventh largest city in South Carolina -- and it shows no sign of slowing.Mayor Bill Collins says he just signed a contract Monday morning with the company that will conduct interviews and gather information to begin talks for a Summerville master plan.Collins believes the population of Summerville is now more than 45,000.

"We want everybody involved in this process. I think maybe next February or March, publicly held meeting where we will seek input from all the stake holders here," he said.

That growth is visible during the lunch hour inside Newk's eatery.

"Summerville's been incredible receptive to us," said Brack Rowe, owner of Newk's.

Rowe says they've only been open for 12 weeks, but the Azalea Square location is bringing the business.{}

"If everyone of my locations is going to be this good, I'm going to be in good shape." said Rowe.

Collins says Newk's Eatery is just part of the explosion inside the Summerville town limits.

"Charleston is sort of land-locked and growth sort of has to come our way and we are excited about that growth," said Collins.

Collins said the future of Summerville is promising and that's why he is insisting on the master plan.

"It's critical that we have this input from all of our stakeholders about what we want the future to be like and manage the growth that is coming. Density is going to be a part of it, I would not be surprised if you don't see some multi-story buildings going up in Summerville before long, because that's another way to deal with the growth instead of sprawl, you grow vertically," said Collins.{}

Collins says another one of those challenges includes adjusting traffic patterns. He says current projects, including road expansions and studies on traffic patterns, will continue as planned.

"I'm working now on a project and we are going to collaborate with the state high way department and we are going to work on some signaling system for our main street to help the flow of traffic," said Collins.

Collins expects the master plan to address all the town's needs including maintaining a small town feel.

"We want to keep the character of this community because it has such a proud history but it's got an even more promising future and we want to blend those two together," said Collins.

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