March 3, 2011
After a decade of solid growth, a Wichita suburb is standing on its own. The latest census shows Derby is one of the state's most rapidly growing cities.
The recession seems to be a foreign word at Madrocks in Derby. While the rest of the world struggles through recovery, the Derby sports bar hasn't seemed to feel the impact, with business picking up since it opened three years ago, according to managers.
"It's really picked up, in the number of people, in the number of sales, and it's a really fun place to be," said Madrocks Bar Manager Lori Parish.
Madrocks is just one business Derby has gained in the past decade as Rock Road has transformed. When new retailers started pouring in, city leaders say they knew their once tiny town would be a tiny town no more.
"That's when we knew that we were going to, if I could use the word explode, that's when we knew it," said Derby Mayor Dion Avello.
The latest census results show Derby's 2000 population was around 17,800. Just ten years later the population stands at well over 22,000. That's an increase of nearly 25%, the largest increase of any other city in Sedgwick County.
"Derby's become a destination point, not a place to pass through like it was years ago. We've made it a destination," said Avello.
The Mayor credits growth with not only business, but also schools, parks, a wide range of housing, and the general quality of life.
"Everything in this community interlocks with one another, we're a family," said Avello.
As for future growth, the Mayor says he doesn't expect Derby to turn into a big city, but rather reach its population limit of around 30,000 in the next ten years. He says the reason is that growth is limited by the river, and Wichita and Mulvane city limits.