BURGAW -- The town of Burgaw is poised for a population surge. But can it handle the growth? Several major residential and commercial developments are underway in Burgaw right now. The sound of growth has become commonplace in Wilmington. And now it's becoming a familiar sound in Burgaw as well. "We're seeing a massive amount of people wanting to move into the area. We have quite a few new sub-divisions coming in on the east and west side." Vicki Foster with the Burgaw Chamber of Commerce said. Burgaw Planning Director Chad McEwan said, "If everything is built that is proposed, we're in the 2,000-2,200 unit range. But we're talking a ten- to 12-year build-out on that." People are moving to Burgaw for its quaint, small-town feel that gives homeowners more bang for their buck compared to Wilmington. "They're really after the larger lots. We have the land available. We have the custom homes you can find in Wilmington, and we have the larger lots that can go with it. We're finding people want extra land to go along with their house, and we're able to provide them with both," Foster said. But is Burgaw ready for such rapid growth? "Everything that's been proposed now, no, we don't have the infrastructure. But we're in the works to provide that infrastructure," McEwan said. The plan includes an additional sewer line to neighboring Wallace, where a wastewater treatment plant is in the process of being upgraded. But not everyone is sold on the idea of a more bustling Burgaw. Herb Harrell is the fourth generation owner of Harrell's Department Store in downtown Burgaw. He says he welcomes growth as long as the small-town feel of Burgaw is preserved. "I want to see Burgaw grow, but I want to see it stay a nice, small town. I want it to keep the same values that it has now," Harrell said. Housing developments in the works will create more than 2,000 new homes in the Burgaw area in the next ten to 12 years. Town officials say the quaint, small-town atmosphere of Burgaw is drawing people there. Plus, land costs less in Burgaw, Meaning developers and new home buyers can get more for their money than they can in Wilmington. But not everyone is on-board with the rapid expansion. "I don't want it to turn into a place with shopping malls and things. I want it to be a place where people are comfortable, where they can walk around at night and feel safe, and where you do know the people you see. It's a nice atmosphere," Harrell said. There are also several new businesses coming, including a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant. The major challenge now is infrastructure. Town leaders admit they do not have the proper sewer and roadway infrastructure in place yet. But a new sewer line is in the works, which will carry wastewater from Burgaw to a treatment plant in Wallace that is currently being upgraded.
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