Associate Planner Peter Menser can't believe how quickly things have sprung up in Meridian Township.
"When I first started, there was really not much going on back here at all," he said as he drove to one of the budding new neighborhoods. "This just sat and sat and sat for what seemed like years."
Lots that were once vacant are now being filled with homes. The township has already granted 59 construction permits this year, twice as many as it had issued last year at this time, and nearly as many as 2012 in its entirety. It's on pace to be the most permits since 2007.
"I don't know if it's just being in the right time in the situation, the right part of the country, or the right industry but we certainly weren't expecting this kind of growth this year," Menser said.
Mark Kieselbach, Meridian Township's director of community planning and development thinks it has something to do with what the township has to offer.
"There's a lot of [home] designs and styles to choose from, price ranges for people to look at throughout the township, so I think that's one of the reasons why we're seeing that strong uptick," he said. "We have excellent schools in the Township, so bringing new families in with children to add to the school system, that's a plus for them."
And it helps that Meridian Township has the room to expand, Kieselbach said, an option that someplace like Lansing or East Lansing doesn't have.
East Lansing has only granted eight construction permits for single-family homes so far this year. It only granted ten last year.
Kieselbach points to the jump in numbers as a sign the economy is healing.
"It shows there's an improvement in the economy and people are more confident," he said. "It follows the national trend that we're seeing."
The 59 permits have a construction value of $28.8 million. Last year at this time, the construction value was $11.5 million.