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Rutherford County, TN Accommodates Major Population Growth

Discover what makes Rutherford County, TN, a great place to live, and find out how the community is serving its residents now and in the future.

By Jessica Walker Boehm on May 26, 2017

Rutherford County offers a wide variety of advantages that appeal to all ages and walks of life, including a low cost of living, affordable housing, top-rated schools and a wealth of outdoor recreation opportunities – just to name a few. With that in mind, it’s no surprise the community is experiencing a major growth spurt that’s showing no signs of slowing down.
Murfreesboro’s resident base is rapidly increasing, with the city reaching an estimated population of 126,118 on July 1, 2015, that scored it the No. 13 spot on the U.S. Census Bureau’s list of fastest-growing cities in the country with at least 50,000 residents.
City leaders are engaging with residents and business owners to manage that growth and ensure that the community retains the flavor of what has made it so appealing.  As part of that effort, the city is working with a consulting firm on the Murfreesboro 2035 Comprehensive Plan, a 20-year plan that specifies policy, program and project initiatives for the city.
Mike Browning, City of Murfreesboro public information officer, calls the plan “exhaustive and detailed,” and he says it addresses major city functions such as land use, transportation, economic development, parks and recreation, housing, historic preservation and public facilities.
In addition, the Murfreesboro 2035 Comprehensive Plan includes an implantation chapter that outlines how the plan should be administered and amended over its 20-year duration, and how its strategies and initiatives should be refined and carried out.
“The Murfreesboro 2035 Comprehensive Plan was created to make sure the city is developing in ways that meet infrastructure needs as well as the public’s needs,” Browning says. “We’re planning ahead, working to expand development of the things that will be required to satisfy the population growth we expect to see.”
New Destinations
While major national retailers and restaurants are expanding their footprint in Rutherford county, the community has also developed a growing base of homegrown destinations.
For example, the Demos family’s original eatery, Demos’ Restaurant, opened in Murfreesboro in 1989 and has been a community staple ever since. The family now operates five Demos’ across Middle Tennessee. In 2014, they opened a new concept, Peter D’s. Located in Murfreesboro, Peter D’s is an American Southern bistro that Peter Demos, president and CEO of Demos’ and Peter D’s restaurants, calls “a great spot for girls’ night or a business lunch.”
While both Demos’ and Peter D’s are family-friendly, Peter D’s offers a broad wine selection and craft cocktails, and the restaurant’s patrons can enjoy live music on Friday and Saturday nights.
“We’ve seen the restaurant market continue to expand in Rutherford County,” Demos says. “The population is growing at an incredible rate, and that’s a great thing for any business with a customer base.”
Also enhancing Rutherford County’s impressive food scene are long-time local favorites Parthenon Grille and Five Senses – both of which have been highlighted by Southern Living – and newer establishments like Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant that opened in Murfreesboro in March 2017.
Farm-to-table is increasing in popularity in Rutherford County. The Smyrna Farmers Market began in 2014 and is operated by Carpe Artista, a Smyrna-based arts organization. Open Saturdays from May through September, the market is held at the downtown Smyrna Train Depot and features fresh produce, dairy, meats, breads and handmade items.
And Rutherford County is enjoying a crafts movement – craft beer, that is. Locally owned Panther Creek Brews plans to open a brewery in The Bottoms neighborhood of Murfreesboro. The 26,000-square=foot brewery will include a taproom, along with a beer garden, spaces for food trucks, performance areas and a kid-friendly area for families.
Mayday Brewery opened in Murfreesboro in November 2012, the county’s first craft brewery. Mayday offers 12 unique beers on tap and it has become a popular spot for music performances and other events.
Founder Lee “Ozzy” Nelson says the local response has been positive. He expects the county’s craft beer industry to grow “significantly” in the next five years, and says breweries provide more than just beer – they also offer an experience.
“I think people are embracing craft beer because of the community atmosphere that it brings,” Nelson says. “Plus, people enjoy seeing where things that they consume are made, so breweries are a destination.”

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