By Ken de la Bastide
Tribune enterprise editor
The number of building permits issued in Kokomo last year climbed by 37 percent, with the forecast for this year expected to be about the same.
Figures provided by the Plan Commission showed there were 311 permits issued in Kokomo, with a value of $32.4 million. Although the number of permits climbed to 425 in 2012, the value of the work completed dropped to $22.9 million.
For Howard County the number of permits issued remained about the same with 135 issued in 2011 and 134 last year. The estimated value of the work being done in the county climbed from $8 million to $9.6 million.
Last year in Howard County there were 13 new homes constructed, with a value of $3.7 million, compared to the construction of new houses in 2011 of 17 with a value of $3 million.
The trend was markedly different in Kokomo where 19 houses were built in 2012 with a value of $2.8 million as compared to six new home permits issued in 2011 with a approximately value of $425,000.
Last year in Kokomo, there were site plans approved for a new fire station on Dixon Road, an Ashley Home Furnishings store and an O’Reilly Auto Parts store.
Site plans were approved for senior housing on Washington Street, student apartments near the Indiana University Kokomo campus, and two assisted living facilities.
“We were a little surprised,” Greg Sheline, planning director, said of the increase in the number of permits issued in Kokomo. “It shows that people are willing to move forward with projects that they had been putting off.”
Sheline said he expects 2013 to be another good year.
“We’re getting calls every day from people wanting permit information,” he said.
Sheline said he doubts that the number of permits being issued will ever reach the levels of the past, which allows time to look at the development.
With the projected opening of the Kokomo Corridor later this year, Sheline said that will be the next area to look at in terms of development.
“We want to do it right,” he said.
In Tipton County the number of permits issued climbed from 47 in 2011 to 167 last year. The value of the permits climbed from $18.9 million to $23.8 million.
The number and value of permits issued in Tipton County was enhanced by the construction of 68 wind turbines with a value of $23.8 million as part of the Wildcat Wind Farm developed by E-on Climate & Renewables in eastern Tipton County.
Steve Edson, Tipton County Planning Director, said 2012 was an unusual year because of the wind farm development.
“Even with the wind farm project we saw a significant increase,” he said. “We suffered like everyone else did in 2008. We’re getting back to the pre-2008 level. There was a positive trend for building activity.”
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