Building permits up in Huntington County in 2015

January 22nd, 2016

News Coverage:

1/18/2016 9:43:00 AM

Building permits up in Huntington County in 2015

Rick Bannan, Herald-Press

Building permits were up in Huntington in 2015 though for both city and county total investment was down likely due to a stabilizing economy, local development officials say.

For the city, permit issuance was up 20 percent, including electrical, plumbing and demolition permits among others, Huntington Director of Community Development and Redevelopment Bryn Keplinger said, adding that actual building permits were up 16 percent.

Keplinger said that the largest increase was for floodplain permits, going from four in 2014 to 16 in 2015. He said that city demolitions in the floodplain along with Duke Energy's transmission line work moving one of its towers to a higher elevation were the chief reasons for the increase.

Total investment in the city dropped from $17.3 million in construction value in 2014 to $10.1 million in 2015, Keplinger explained. He said that there were more large projects the previous year overall.

"2014 was really the first year that the economy fully recovered, I would say, and we saw quite a few large projects that were high-value," Keplinger explained, adding that construction on Park Lofts apartment complex, the Parkview Boys and Girls Club of Huntington County and work by Duke Energy were some of the more substantial 2014 projects.

This year, the construction at the Huntington University Habecker Dining Commons and the Huntington County Community Learning Center were some of the big city projects, Keplinger explained. Although the numbers dropped, he said that 2015 was "a good year, nonetheless" when it came to development.

Even with a general decline in commercial building there was an increase in new homes in the city, Keplinger explained, adding that there were 29 percent more in 2015 than 2014. He said that a delayed winter allowed for more construction and permitting opportunity, remarking that his office permitted a home on New Year's Eve.

Overall, Keplinger was optimistic about the permit trends even if total put in took a dip last year.

"I think the trend is that we continue to see recovery from the recession," Keplinger remarked.

The county had a similar trend in 2015 permits as Huntington County Department of Community Development (DCD) Executive Director Mandy Woods explained explained that there were a few more big projects in 2014 than 2015.

Information from the DCD listed a roughly $5.8 million drop in total investment in the county for 2015 compared to 2014, going from roughly $22.5 million to $16.7 million. Total building permits was up marginally, however, with 387 in 2015 compared to 383 in 2014.

The biggest county project in 2015 was an interior remodeling of Dayton Freight Linesfor $1.6 million. The Huntington City-Township Public Library Markle Branch construction and Faith Chapel United Methodist Church addition were the next-biggest at roughly $878,000 and $800,000 respectively.