Building a city: how Gunter is preparing for a population boom

Published: Apr. 12, 2022 at 6:26 PM CDT
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GUNTER, Texas (KXII) - Construction trucks aren’t hard to spot in Gunter, and it’s a telling sign of what’s to come.

“Growth is coming,” said Gunter City Manager Rick Chaffin. “We can’t stop it. We legally can’t stop it.”

Positioned between 289 and the Dallas North Tollway, the city expects to boom as new homes go up left and right.

“We’re the natural progression of the growth going north,” said Chaffin.

One of the first developments of new homes will be completed near the intersection of Pike and McConnell road.

This development is just one of eight.

In all, they will bring in more than 44,000 homes compared to the 750 the city has now and bump the population up to 120,000 from 2,500.

“Planning has always kind of been a luxury- it’s not a luxury anymore,” said Chaffin. “It’s required.”

Gunter isn’t built to serve so many people quite yet, so step one is changing that.

That means hiring a fire department.

Right now, they only have a volunteer department.

They will also need to expand city hall and employ more police.

“You’ve got to have outstanding leadership and stable leadership from a city council and a staffing level,” said Chaffin.

The city will also have to build its infrastructure, like water and sewer systems, which he said won’t be done for another two and half three years.

For long-term residents, there’s another concern: maintaining Gunter’s character.

“We want to keep our small-town feel and keep our community the way it is, but we have to manage that growth,” said Jay Brummett, who’s lived in Gunter for more than a decade.

Chaffin said he’s aiming to do just that by restoring downtown and building parks and trails through the city.

“The charge is to make it the best we can, to make the more community-oriented as opposed to just isolated house after house, you know, that’s not what we’re interested in,” said Chaffin.

The boom won’t come tomorrow.

But the foundation for building the next phase of Gunter’s history starts now.

“We know where we are going,” said Chaffin. “We may not get there in a direct route, but we do know where we are going, and that’s important.”

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