NIXA, Mo. – Billie Haworth has lived in Nixa almost his entire life. The 91-year-old tells OzarksFirst he has seen Nixa become a more popular place to live, which wasn’t the case when he first moved to the area.

At his age, Haworth admits he still gets nostalgic about Nixa’s past.

“[The city was] small. When we moved to Nixa the population was 370.”

He remembers the area having just three grocery stores, four gas stations and very few high school students.

“The whole school was about 300 people.”

Haworth went to school in what is now the Faught Administration Center. When he graduated in 1948, there were 14 students in his class.

“There’s close to 500 now in Nixa.”

Around 400 students graduated in 2021.

The U.S. Census Bureau says 23,257 people lived in Nixa in 2020.

“It’s on the move. I mean it’s really building up. There’s a lot of new businesses coming in. It’s quite a change for me.”

So, this makes Haworth happy to live in a quiet part of town.

“There’s not too much traffic down here. That’s the way I like it. I like my peace and quiet and solitary.”

While Nixa still has those quiet neighborhoods, the Chamber of Commerce says it expects the area to grow even more these next couple of years.

A lot of projects are in the works right now, including a sewer expansion project that will allow developers to build more houses in Nixa.

There’s also the Missouri Department of Transportation’s expansion going westbound on Highway 14, which will bring more commercial space to the area.