JOHNSTOWN, Colo. — Those who have called Johnstown home for decades remember how small it used to be.
“Fifteen-hundred people when we moved here. It is just nuts,” said a customer inside of Cassidy Sports Grill who chose not to be identified.
Today, the population hovers around 15,000. Something this customer wants no part of.
“We’ve been here 27 years and we moved here in 1995 from Longmont to get away from all of the growth in Longmont and now they’re all moving up here and ruining this,” said the customer.
A new development will now bring in 1,500 single-family homes to an area of Johnstown off I-25 by mid-2023.
For the owner of Cassidy Sports Gill, change could be a good thing.
“We can keep people here in Johnstown instead of going to other places. You know, for their entertainment,” said the owner of the restaurant, Brian Jones.
Jones moved into town almost 20 years ago. He says Johnstown still has a small-town feel and more people means more business.
“Business has definitely picked up and I don't see it changing. I'm sure that it's going to bring more businesses, competition, if you will, but I never see new places opening up as competition,” said Jones.
The mayor of Johnstown says potential commercial businesses coming in isn’t only a benefit to future residents but also those already in town.
“They don't have to travel out of town to do their shopping. So it's a big advantage to the people that live here now and I think they understand that it's just getting over the stigma of growth,” said Mayor Gary Lebsack.
Lebsack says one of his focuses is making sure the expansion is done right and accompanied by proper streets, infrastructure, and keeping local business alive.
“Through all of the development that we see coming, it's going to make Johnstown a better place. It's great now, but it'll make it a better place to live and to work and to play. We're hoping to keep people close to home,” said Lebsack.
Overall, more than 3,000 homes are set to be built in Johnstown.
“It kind of puts us on the map as far as Johnstown along the Front Range,” said Lebsack.
An opportunity some are eager to welcome, while staying true to Johnstown’s roots.