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Area Plan Commission reports growth

By AARON KENNEDY - akennedy@ftimes.com

The Area Plan Commission saw continued residential, commercial and industrial growth in 2018 according to the annual report they released at Monday's Clinton County Commissioners meeting in Frankfort.

The year-end report showed that a combined 862 permits were issued for the city and the county in 2018 while 32 new homes and four duplexes (eight new units) were issued in the county, and four new homes were issued in Frankfort. Plus, 11 new subdivision were created, supplying 15 lots for new homes.

Executive director Liz Stitzel says the numbers are a strong sign that Clinton County finally recovered from the housing crash that hit a decade ago.

“We dropped for a long time after the crash that occurred,” Stitzel said. “We saw significant reduction in new houses and an increase in electricals and remodels I think reflected the effects on people's pocketbooks with what happened to the economy. Maybe a year or two ago, we finally hit even on what our permits were before. We hit the recession, and now are finally growing again. So, I think we can say that we have recovered, and we are moving forward. But, we definitely did have a dip.”

The report also showed at least $6,552,368 worth of new valuation in commercial and industrial construction ($3,432,268 in Frankfort and $3,120,100 in the county), but Stitzel says that number is much lower than the actual amount due to nearly half the 2018 permits lacking valuation information within the permitting system.

“When I ran the reports, I noticed about half of our commercial and industrial permits, including some large ones, had no valuations (listed), so I would say that number may be as much as double that,” Stitzel said. “It is very positive. Added valuation means added tax dollars, so that is a direct correlation to benefit everyone within the jurisdiction.

“We definitely have growth,” she added. “We are definitely open for business. Our unemployment rates are very low. We want to bring people in residentially and commercially and grow in both sectors simultaneously.”

Frankfort Mayor Chris McBarnes says the rise in numbers “speaks to the strength of the local economy and the future outlook for Frankfort.

“I was very pleased to see those numbers, but I know they are low,” McBarnes said. “For example, Donaldson's $35 million expansion raises that number dramatically.

“Getting investment specifically back into our neighborhoods and houses, which is finally what we are starting to see, I think we should feel very optimistic,” he added. “I think it shows that our initiatives are working. We have a bright outlook.”