Duval at 1 Million: Neighboring bedroom counties building up as Jacksonville jobs grow

Clay, Nassau and St. Johns have thousands of residents who are commuting for work.

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Population growth in Jacksonville is spilling over into neighboring counties.

With companies moving global headquarters or setting up new operations, along with existing businesses that are expanding, the job base is growing and new employees and their families need places to live.

“About 60% of our residents work in Jacksonville. Orange Park and Fleming Island are pretty much grown out,” Clay County Chamber of Commerce President John Cantrell said.

A 4,000-home, 2,000-apartment master-planned mixed-use community to be built on 3,300 acres near Green Cove Springs was announced in December.

“We are building roads and we are building houses. Clay County is blowing up,” Cantrell said.

The commuter effect also is being felt in St. Johns County.

“We have about 60,000 residents who live in St. Johns County that work in other counties, predominantly Duval,” said St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Economic Development Scott Maynard.

“It’s helping us be the 11th-fastest growing county in the U.S. and the second-fastest in the state,” Maynard said.

In Nassau County, Jacksonville’s population growth is contributing to residential growth and to tourism.

“There’s a lot of interest in new developments like Wildlight and our restaurant owners and retailers report a spike in regional visitors. People are discovering us and they are exploring,” said Nassau County Chamber of Commerce President Regina Duncan.