Population Booming in Dundee, Industry Likely to Follow
With 3,000 new homes anticipated to be built within the next three to five years, Dundee is experiencing the growth that’s enveloping the eastern side of Polk County firsthand. And that’s fine with Dundee Town Manager Tandra Davis, who said it’s the best thing happening in the small town.
The population there has grown from about 3,700 people in the 2010 Census to about 5,300 in 2020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Davis said people are drawn to Dundee, a 12-square-mile town east of Winter Haven, “for our attractive location – being so close to larger cities, yet still able to offer the small close-knit, family-town feel.”
The city is meeting with existing developers and those new to the area monthly to brainstorm ways to bring new custom homes to the area, Davis said.
“We are closely monitoring the details, such as the home sizes and code requirements of the homes and developments coming in. Our goal is to allow our residents to appreciate the growth that is coming and not worry about homes stacking up in an unpleasant way. We are working to keep the town unified and unique at the same time.”
Tandy said she anticipates the population to double in the next five to 10 years. “The current housing market is bringing huge development that we anticipate being complete in the five- to 10-year time span. As well, we are excited that the Highway 27 commercial district will also see new development growth, which will support the residential growth we are experiencing now and in the future.”
The small, rural area has plenty of room for expansion,” Davis said. “Our steady increase in annexations and new development opportunities is showing incredible and positive growth for the town.”
Along with houses, the town is working to attract new businesses – industrial, commercial and retail – to the community, she said.
“Dundee is known best for its agriculture – we are surrounded by citrus,” Davis said. But the town also has industrial land for sale. “I anticipate new businesses to come soon as the Highway 27/542 road project is completed. As the town manager, I am excited for the new businesses that we anticipate following the increase of homes in Dundee. The growth is also creating new jobs at Town Hall, which is exciting.”
Davis said she touts growth when talking to businesses. “ ‘Be a part of our growth,’ ” she said she tells them, continuing with: “ ‘Dundee is growing heavily in a residential aspect, and with residential growth comes commercial growth. Let’s make your company a part of the transition as we expand. Come grow with us!’ ”
That growth also brings challenges, and like almost every other city and town in Polk County, drinking water is at or near the top of that list.
“Drinking water is our most challenging concern,” she said. “Dundee is a participating member of the Polk County Water Cooperative Group and has a solid relationship with partnering cities nearby that act as a support team.”
The water cooperative is looking at regional solutions to the dwindling natural resource, trying to find ways to ensure the water supply supports future growth.
Ready to Visit?
Visitors to the town have plenty of options when it comes to things to do, Davis said.
“Visit our Historical Train Depot and Museum, where you will learn the history of Dundee and surrounding cities,” she said. “Visit Davidson of Dundee, which has been in Dundee since 1967, and enjoy their famous citrus candies and chocolates.”
She also suggests exploring the many beautiful lakes in Dundee to fish, walk and take photos.
“Of course, do a restaurant hop to Dundee’s many local family-owned restaurants and food trucks with a variety of great eats that you do not want to miss.”
She also bragged about two things in the works:
- “We are very excited for our two-year plan for a water splash pad, which should be in development soon.”
- “We are currently in the design process for our Centennial Park, which will include artsy elements and many areas for beautiful pictures.”
Davis sums up her town and the next five years easily: “Although many of our projects are in the beginning stages, I believe that within five years, Dundee will be a prime location to live – especially since we are centered between the popular Lakeland, Winter Haven and Kissimmee, which puts us within arm’s reach of the Legoland, Disney and Universal theme parks. I consider Dundee the ‘Crown Jewel’ of the Ridge of Polk County.”