(WBIR) Townsend is sometimes referred to as the "quiet side of the Smokies" and for good reason. The city is tucked away in Blount County and has seen very little growth since the early 1900s.
According the the U.S. Census, Townsend's population in 1930 was 402. Eighty years later, in 2010, the city's population grew by 46 for a total population of 448.
Charles Tippitt is one of those hundreds of people who have decided to make Townsend home.
"I moved here in 1986. I love it. The mountains, the good views, and the good weather. Just everything," he said.
Since 1997, Tippit has volunteered at the city's Mary E. Tippitt Memorial Library, named after his late wife. Tippit said he enjoys the small population, but wouldn't mind a little growth.
"It wouldn't hurt if it grew a little if it was controlled growth," Tippit said. "I think we do need businesses to provide more tax dollars so the city can do more for the residents."
Townsend Commissioner Ron Palewski said he and his wife moved to the city from Chicago in 1998. Palewski said the area's attractions, such as the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and Cades Cove, caused the couple to retire in the East Tennessee city.
Palewski said he would also like to see the city's population grow, but hopes it doesn't grow too quickly for the city's small fire department and four police officers.
"It would be a big burden on them if the population grew too quick and we would probably have to find some way of hiring more police officers and others. But I think most people like it the way it is. Grow, but not too fast," he said.
Mayor Michael Talley stated, "I think Townsend's population growth has maintained at relatively the same rate the past years, even though the Census has shown the population is up. I believe that's due to an annexation correction.Townsend is satisfied with the population growth and we think it's due to the natural attraction of our cultural and environmental appeal. We're happy to have the residents we do have. We are a community of good neighbors."
Commissioner Palewski said the City of Townsend currently does not have property taxes. He said Townsend relies heavily on tourism dollars for funding. If the city were to grow too quickly, Palewski said it could result in new taxes to help fund the city.