by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL
A housing industry slowly shaking off the worst economic conditions in decades finds Rockford well positioned for a long awaited turn around in new home construction.
New home starts have been flat in Rockford for the past 5 years and Rockford City Manager Michael Young was more than happy to announce at May’s City Council meeting that, “We have issued more new home construction permits in the first five months of this year (2012) than in all of 2010 and 2011 combined.”
Home building contractor Roersma & Wurm has been busy this spring bringing a number of homes in Rockford’s Heritage Park to market.
New to the Rockford market, a Traverse City builder sees great potential for new home construction in the Rockford community. So convinced was Gary Jurkovich, CEO of Pathway Homes, that Rockford is “the stepping stone” into the greater Grand Rapids home building market that he recently completed a home in Rockford’s Riverchase Neighborhood.
Located at 93 Riverchase Dr., the home was entered in this year’s spring Parade of Homes. It was no sooner completed than it was sold. Not to worry, another Pathway Home is under construction directly across the street.
Pathway’s beautiful Parade entry exhibited strong attention to detail and no wasted space. It was a favorite of Parade ticket holders. Certified green built, the home was rated Energy Star 5 and featured 5 bedrooms with 2 ½ baths in its 2,454 sq. ft. of finished floor space. With a 3-car garage, a covered porch, back deck, and a bonus room above the garage, it left little to be desired. The home also abounded in many upgraded amenities including hardwood floors, ceramic tile, and a gas fireplace with custom mantle design, along with granite countertops with custom ceramic tile backsplashes. In short, it was a lot of home for the money.
The last two days, Friday and Saturday, June 8 & 9, of this year’s Spring Parade of Homes will feature six remodeled homes. Rockford’s multi-award winning Morris Builders will highlight the complete interior and exterior renovation of a home at 143 Courtland St. (northeast corner of Courtland and Monroe Sts.) in downtown Rockford.
The five-time recipient of the Remodeler of the Year Award, Morris Builders, purchased the home last year and recently finished its complete makeover. The home will be used as the company’s headquarters and will showcase the “design and build” talents of the entire Morris team.
There are still a few days left in this year’s Parade of Homes and if you are in the market for cutting-edge remodeling ideas this is the home to visit!
If a building turn-around is in the offing, it can’t be soon enough for City Manager Young. Rockford has seen a 90-percent reduction in new construction projects since 2006. The resulting loss in new property tax revenues and related fees, along with successive years of lowered property tax assessments, has seriously taxed Young and City Staff when the time came to prepare annual balanced City budgets.
With resourceful and innovative strategies, Young and Staff have somehow managed to again prepare a budget for Rockford’s new fiscal year without cuts to service and quality of life amenities that we all enjoy, and oftentimes take for granted, as citizens of the City of Rockford.
“We think things are starting to turn around here in Rockford,” said Young, “and we owe a debt of gratitude to the employees of the City of Rockford who for the past many years have gone above and beyond anyone’s expectations.”