The good ole days are coming back.
Construction goes on despite housing decline
BY BOB KASARDA
219.548.4345 | Tuesday, September 02, 2008 |
Planners around the county report that commercial and industrial construction continues, as well as school projects.
Homeowners seem to have resigned themselves to staying put and are directing more time and money into their homes in the form of renovations and additions.
Home improvement projects have become the largest source of residential activity in Portage, said Building Commissioner Doug Sweeney.
The situation is similar in the unincorporated areas of the county, said Plan Commission Director Bob Thompson.
Thompson said he also has fielded several construction projects from school corporations, including a new elementary school in Pine Township and expansion work for the East Porter County district.
Commercial growth is holding its own across the county, the planners said.
"Portage is growing, and businesses want to locate here," Sweeney said.
Another area of growth, at least for Valparaiso, are assisted living facilities, said City Planning Director Craig Phillips.
He said one assisted living project is under construction, one is expanding and another is in the planning stages.
All this activity, as well as in-house work on development ordinances and mapping, is helping to keep planning departments busy at a time of sluggish residential growth.
The county issued permits for just 160 new single-family homes so far this year, compared to more than double that number at the same point in 2004 and 2005, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Portage reported just 21 new single-family home permits so far this year, down from 147 during the same time in 2004 and 2005, according the statistics. Valparaiso issued permits for 27 new single-family homes this year, compared to 67 at the same point in 2005.
Planners all said the local decline in new home construction is part of a downturn nationwide.
Thompson said there is no shortage of available land to develop in the unincorporated areas of the county.