20/20 Vision on housing
By DOUGLAS BURNS
Greene County’s Vision 2020 Project Team has from the outset identified housing as its No. 1 priority.
Ken Paxton, the executive director of the Greene County Development Corporation, notes that 32 percent of the people who work in Greene County live outside of it — and 70 percent of those people would love to make an address change closer to their workplaces, right here in Greene County.
Vision 2020 now has some hard data to consider when making recommendations on housing. Amy Haase, a principal with RDG Planning & Design of Omaha, Nebraska, on Tuesday afternoon presented details of her firm’s analyis of housing in Jefferson and Greene County to a collection of Vision 2020 members at Jefferson’s City Hall.
Here are some the key takeaways:
1. The population of Greene County dropped from 14,379 in 1960 to 9,336 in 2010, according to the U.S. Census. In 1960, Jefferson represented 31.8 percent of Greene County’s population. In 2010, Jefferson was 46.5 percent of Greene County’s population.
“We don’t need as many farmhands as we did 50, 60 years ago,” Haase said.
2. If economic development and community leaders don’t intervene with growth strategies, and population is left to the simple math of expected births and deaths, Jefferson’s 2015 population of 4,156 would drop to 3,868 by 2030.
3. In Jefferson, about 70 percent of residences are inhabited by the owners of the property, with 30 percent serving as rentals.
4. The 2015 median household income in Jefferson stood at $44,184. The median house value was pegged at $91,700 that year. The median rent per month: $403 in 2015.
5. More than 130 jobs are now available in Greene County.
6. Between 2017 and 2030 an additional 124 housing units are needed in Jefferson — 62 owner-occupied and 62 for renters, RDG reports.
7. On an annual basis Scranton and Grand Junction should be adding two to three housing units each year, says the RDG analysis.
8. 86 percent of Jefferson’s housing is deemed fair to excellent based on RDG surveys.
9. 7 percent (or 12 units) of housing in Jefferson should be removed, RDG says.
10. Housing diversity will be key for Greene County’s future, particularly with retiree/senior options that will keep older people in the region and allow younger people to move into more affordable, mature homes.