Olive Branch continues explosive growth - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Nick Paranjape

Olive Branch continues explosive growth

More families, more students, more homes, more schools and more roads...Olive Branch is bursting with growth, but some wonder if the city is getting too big, too fast.

J.W. McElhaney enjoys living in Olive Branch, and recently moved to a new neighborhood. 

"When we moved in there were about 4 or 5 or 6 families," he said.  "There are a lot more homes in his neighborhood just two years later."

Signs for new homes are all around Olive Branch.  Mayor Sam Rikard says the city has doubled in size in the last ten years, growing to 32,000 residents.

According to Rikard, an average of 500 new homes are built every year, but its the businesses that are really booming.

"The biggest change we've seen is the amount of retail growth here," he said.

Tracy Wright just moved back to Olive Branch after living in Atlanta for 11 years.  She doesn't like what's happened to her hometown. 

"We wanted to move back to Olive Branch for the quiet suburban life, but it's not turning out that way," she said.

Rikard says Olive Branch's growth has kicked up the city's operating budget, increasing it by $40 million since 1997.  The money, he says, comes from property taxes, sales taxes, court fines, and building permit fees.

A rise in crime is a concern for the mayor, but he says they've added 40 more police officers to the streets since 1997.

Olive Branch is the 9th largest city in Mississippi.

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