Baldwin County residents sharing thoughts on rapid growth

Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 10:19 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 29, 2023 at 2:18 PM CDT
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ROBERTSDALE, Ala. (WALA) - Many passionate thoughts about Baldwin County’s rapid growth at the County Commission meeting Thursday night.

Some agreed growth is inevitable, but it’s how they do it. That’s the big concern.

One thing is clear—people care.

“We expected this, I’d say 40 years ago because of all the water we got,” said Roger Booth, born and raised in Robertsdale.

According to the Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance, they have been the fastest growing county in Alabama for 13 years, and most of that is attributed to Daphne, Fairhope, and Foley.

People like Carl Schlagheck and his wife retired to Baldwin County from Ohio in 2019, wanting to escape the cold. Though when he moved, he said he didn’t realize how far behind Baldwin County was on keeping up with the growth spurt. It’s causing a problem for him.

“We have no cell phone service,” said Schlagheck. “We have no internet, so if we have an emergency and have to call 911, we have no bars, we have no cell phone service.”

Booth doesn’t want to see farmer’s land ripped away from them.

“Let our people that have been here many years farming—and the farmers done went to dust and everything else—if they want to sell a piece let them sell it, but if they want to keep farming, let them farm it,” said Booth.

Others, like Chloe Kelly, are the new kid on the block.

She’s lived in Daphne for six months and sees benefits to the growth.

“I work in Daphne, and I really value this community it’s great,” said Kelly. “Everybody has been wonderful, and I understand why people want to protect the culture of it, but part of that is allowing others to come here and add to it and enjoy it as well.”

Most agreed they can’t stop Baldwin from expanding, but they don’t want it to lose its charm.

“We want to keep the small town feel right here in our towns, but we still know we are going to have to have development,” said Booth. “You’re going to need places for people to stay, and you’re going to also have to have construction and commercial.”

If you live in Baldwin and want to voice thoughts, the next county commission meeting is Tuesday April 4 at 322 Courthouse Square Bay Minette, Alabama 36507.