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Cooper City

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Cooper City Leads State in Growth by Brian Ballou - South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Major reason for population surge is the new Monterra development
Waldrep Dairy Farm transformed into sprawling residential development.

With a healthy population surge of 22 percent from 2010 to 2014, this humble city is suddenly leading the state in growth, according to estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

And it's all because of the last functional dairy farm in Broward County.

The owners of the 530-acre Waldrep Dairy Farm sold it to developer Monterra Homes, and Cooper City annexed the property in 2004. Monterra then built 1,654 units, a mixture of single family homes, townhouses and apartments.

"That's the reason for the big increase," said Matt Wood, the city's Growth Management Director. "We're very family-oriented and that housing development fits within the vision established by the city's forefathers many years ago, of being a bedroom community."

Wood also cited the city's low crime rate, quality schools and large number of parks. Growth has been steady. In 2010, Cooper City had 28,548 residents. In 2014, there were 34,923.

Other Broward County cities in the census' top 25 include Parkland, Miramar and Coconut Creek.

The development, Monterra Cooper City, is about a square mile and sits within Stirling Road and Sheridan Street and University Drive and Pine Island Road.

Russell Setti, mayor of Cooper City in the '70s, said the rise in population doesn't affect the city's capacity to absorb additional residents while keeping the feel of community intact.

"We planned the city many, many years ago and wanted it to be a bedroom community, family oriented with after school activities and a strong school system," he said.

"Even when the crash of the real estate market occurred, Cooper City sustained its value. There are still some areas to expand into, and I think we'll be able to do that but still keep the small town feel."

bballou@sun-sentinel.com, 954-356-4188, Twitter: @briballou

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