Population growth, regardless how small, good for Chase County

If Chase County wants to continue to see long-term growth, then we must be willing to make the investments to ensure that happens. Obviously a new hospital is one of them.

Chase County accomplished something in the last seven years that few counties its size in Nebraska did—grow its population. Granted, the population growth amounted to five people but that’s still an important milestone for the county.
    According to the latest 2017 county population data released by the U.S. Census Bureau last week, Chase County ranks with 29 other counties in the state that have shown growth since the 2010 census.
    Chase County was among 22 counties that showed up to 5 percent of growth over the time frame. Another eight showed growth of 5 percent or more.
    Five of those eight counties were where you’d expect to see growth, counties including the Omaha and Lincoln metro areas, Grand Island and Kearney. Three others—Thomas, Grant and Banner— had populations of 650 or less but a 5 percent increase in those counties makes a significant impact.
    So that leaves 63 counties that showed no growth or a loss in population. Looking at it from that perspective, it’s a big deal that Chase County has remained stable over the last seven years.
    In the 2010 census, Chase County showed a population just under 4,000—3,966 to be exact.
    In the 2012 estimates, the county eclipsed the 4,000 mark with 4,020.
    Over the last seven years, Chase County has seen 60 people move from the county compared to another 95 who moved in for a +35. However, deaths exceeded births by 30, leaving the county with a +5 population of 3,971.
    That growth, regardless of how small, serves as good news in the effort to build a new hospital in Chase County.
    That stability serves as a great beacon for the future of Chase County and shows that we need to continually invest in ourselves to move forward in the future. Part of that investment must be a new hospital.
    This week, the Heartland Health Alliance of Nebraska released a study examining the economic impact rural hospitals have on the counties they serve.
    I’m guessing most people would never guess the local area impact of Chase County Community Hospital totals more than $22.5 million. Yes, you read that right—$22.5 million.
    That’s just how valuable our hospital is to Chase County, which is why voters in Chase County need to approve a bond issue for a new hospital in the November election.
    When someone is considering a move to a community, must-haves on the top of the list include a good school, a good hospital and healthcare and housing availability.
    One of the glaring deficiencies on that list is our hospital. If Chase County wants to continue to see long-term growth, then we must be willing to make the investments to ensure that happens. Obviously a new hospital is one of them.
    We have the opportunity in November to set a direction that will aid the growth of Chase County for years to come. There’s no standing still anymore. If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backwards.

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