Small towns getting smaller
A small city – and getting smaller. It’s an economic issue facing many small towns.
The Kentucky League of Cities shows population changes from the last census, and small town leaders are fearful if something doesn’t change, the declining population will trend will continue.
Wickliffe’s population has hovered just under 700 people for the past 5 years. But those in town are concerned the city could get smaller. Mark Sullivan says his hometown has changed, “The smaller towns are not as vibrant as they used to be.” Sullivan works in Wickliffe, but lives in the bigger city of Paducah. He says, “You taken my case having grown up here I’d rather go to Paducah for housing, convenience.”
Its this scenario that Wickliffe Mayor George Lane is concerned is strangling his city’s progress. Lane says, “People moving back would be good for me, make my feelings better, and not just me – everyone.”
Lane says the number of vacant houses and homes for sale is only one indication of the declining population, “People in these houses, that’s what bothers me, and it has for a long time. I don’t have to be mayor to be bothered from it.”
But when a variety of different factors contribute to a city’s population, Lane says there’s no perfect solution but plenty of time to turn the trend around, “I don’t have any magic answers that’s the sad part – I wish I did.”
One way to combat the declining population – jobs. Wickliffe is courting three different companies hoping to relocate to the town.
Lane says Wickliffe has the third lowest water rates in the state.