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Boomtown 2040: KVUE wants your input as Austin's population rockets

KVUE is committed to helping you find answers with our new series focused on the fact that our city doubles in size every 20 years.

AUSTIN, Texas — The intersection of growth and opportunity in Austin often produces something else: Frustration.

So much good comes with the city's growth. Dozens of companies have moved here, festivals attract even more and we strive to protect and preserve the weirdness -- the nature that makes this place so enticing.

With the good also comes challenges: Traffic, affordability, the struggle to keep Austin special.

So as we move into a new year, KVUE plans to bring you a new view of this place we call home. We're calling it Boomtown 2040.

Since the 1900s, Austin's population has doubled every 20 years. It is why we are calling our project this year "Boomtown 2040." It's a vision of the future. A promise to look forward. A commitment to push for more answers to your most pressing concerns and help you find solutions.

Find all of our Boomtown 2040 stories here.

Small business owners struggle to keep up

Morning starts early.

The same things that attracted so many of us to Austin is pushing more families out. Yes, those things have allowed businesses to flourish.

"This is prime land now," said Diana Limon. 

She has owned her flower shop in East Austin for 34 years.

"Now I drive down the street and there so many changes, so many changes,” she said. “It's good if you you're going to sell. If you're going to stay, it's going to be hard for a lot of businesses."

“The main thing is our taxes just raised so high,” said Limon.

Austin's beloved Kerbey Lane Cafe also feels the struggle. 

“The growth is limiting us because it's limiting our workforce,” said Amanda Kuda, vice president of communication at Kerbey Lane Cafe.

Austin homeowners can’t catch a break

The struggle is real and widespread.

“We pay $8,000 to $9,000 a year to just sit here and do nothing,” said one homeowner.

"I mean, how can (property value) increase from $150,000 to $260,000?" said Cecelia Gulick, who lives near Lake Austin Hills.

“It doesn't seem logical that a quarter acre would be worth over $700,000 for just the land,” said Paul Gulick.

"They told me they'd love to live in Austin -- we just can't," said singer Dale Watson.

KVUE wants to answer your questions as Austin booms

"We double in size every 20 to 25 years so this is not a surprise. The city hasn't planned for it," said Drew Scheberle with the Austin Chamber of Commerce.

It's a growing problem that affects the city as well.

“We're going to start losing services. We're going to start losing people,” said Travis County Tax Assessor Bruce Elfant.

From traffic solutions, to school finance, to property tax relief, Austinites are feeling it.

"This is why we wanted to get you to help us because maybe you can get some answers that we can't get," said Gulick.

Boomtown 2040 is our promise to listen more, question more and do more on the issues that matter most to you.

So email us at news@kvue.com, tweet at us using the #Boomtown2040 and #KVUE and reach out to us on Facebook and Instagram. Let us know what you want to see us do stories about and what issues you want answered.

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