Pride of the Prairie
With JBLM getting so big, what has that done to the local communities? I have heard that Lacey and Yelm have really grown?
Ft. Lewis has doubled in size in the past 3-4 years, McChord has remained about the same size. The total active population of JBLM is between 40-45,000, and growing. Lacey has really grown dramatically, in the past few years, especially the Hawks Prairie area. Yelm is much the same, with Yelm being recognized as the fastest growing small town in the State in 2012.
The Hawks Prairie (Northeast) portion of Lacey/Olympia has grown both as a result of the growth of JBLM, and because of local businesses
relocating from out of state. The Hawks Prairie industrial park has brought several thousand jobs to the area, with corporations such as Target and Home Depot relocating all of their west coast distribution operations from California to Washington. (I published a very telling stat in a recent newsletter: Approximately 170,000 CA drivers licenses were turned in to Washington in 2011.)
Yelm is a wonderful small farm town, and while it is growing dramatically, the city has done a good job of maintaining the small town feel. The schools are great, crime is almost non-existent, and main street is safe…even in the wee hours.. Another nice thing about Yelm is that prices are just a little lower than Lacey, but that is changing. The commute to Yelm v Lacey is close to the same. All of Lacey is accessible within 20 minutes, with Hawks Prairie being 10 minutes from the main gate. Yelm is 20-25 minutes to anywhere in town, using either the Dupont Gate and Reservation Rd., or via the East Gate.