There’s no question the little sleepy hamlet of Bozeman, Montana is growing. Projected growth by 2045 will add another 55,000 folks to our city.

Show of hands — how many want to see the farmland in the photo above gone? Open space replaced with condos, homes and shopping centers?

It’s in the cross hairs of developers as we speak and there’s really not much that can be done about it. If you build it they will come.

Keep in mind, that all of New York City once looked like Central Park.

What Does Growth Really Mean?

I’ve lived in small towns and I’ve lived in large cities. Large cities suck. I speak from personal experience. All of the good things in large cities are kicked to the curb by the bad that growth brings.

San Diego is either the 5th or 6th largest city in the US. They battle Dallas for the spot each census.

My wife and I moved from San Diego to Bozeman in 1993. We’ve never looked back.

There’s a lot to be said for 365 days of sunny 75-degree temperatures. Great restaurants, beautiful beaches, and a super nightlife make it very appealing on the surface.

But … gangs, drugs, drive-by shooting, car jacking, and crime make even the most desirable place lose its luster quickly. And that’s what happened to us.

We had to get out while we could.

Size Matters

The size of San Diego mattered to us.

While we both had well paying jobs, and were able to enjoy all the things the city had to offer, spending an hour each way sitting in traffic to get to your well paying job makes one pause as to the toll it takes on your quality of life.

Now I do understand that Bozeman will not reach 6-7 million people anytime in the near future. But it will grow and some of that growth will bring bad people to our picturesque utopia.

Some Final Thoughts

There are two choices. Bozeman can grow vertically like New York City or it can spread out like Los Angeles, California.

Believe it or not there actually are advantages to both.

So our city managers and planners need to sharpen their pencils and try to decide what kind of future city do we want?

We live in a beautiful valley and no one wants to lose that. Every time I go to the grocery store or post office I run into people I know.

It would be a shame to lose that but I’m afraid that’s the future of Bozeman. We will grow and good and bad will happen.

How much of our traditions and culture will survive with 55,000 new faces is anyone’s guess.

No one’s impressed if you say you’re moving to Iowa or Nebraska — but Montana? I would hate to lose that too. We’re a magical place with an amazing history.

What would it take to make you move away from the Last Best Place On Earth?

Comments below.