Like a lot of people, the recession of the past two years has had a marked effect on my business and way of life. Frankly, it's been tough on my family -- like I'm sure it has been on a lot of our citizens. Lately, though, I've found my confidence rising thanks to some cautiously optimistic numbers.
In late July, a local newspaper asked the City of Milton for statistics regarding building permits (including renovations) issued through the first half of the year and how those totals stacked up against the same time in 2009. According to our Community Development Department, the issued number of permits rose 54 percent over the same period in 2009. To be fair, was in the midst of the recession that has troubled so many.
Now, don't get me wrong - this thing isn't over. We're not at pre-recession levels, but it does show Milton overall is taking good, solid steps forward in reducing our inventory of available housing and commercial space. It also shows that people in Milton are choosing to renovate their homes and businesses over moving, which adds overall value to the community. As the past year has taught us, the health of any economy is tied to a number of factors, and a big part of making it well again is a good housing market. Especially in Milton, which is overwhelmingly residential.
Personally, I believe people are choosing to stay because Milton is the type of place where you want to raise your family. It's beautiful, it's quiet and it's different from the rest of our surrounding communities.
Adding to those qualities are our award-winning schools. If you're anything like me, you've got a few children in school here, so August is a big month. The kids are headed back, which can mean a lot of joy and anxiety for parents and students alike.
This August is unlike any other in the Lockwood household, because our oldest is going away for her freshman year at the University of Alabama. Our other two boys are moving into 10th and fifth grades, and before I know it, they too will be off to school.
It's a bittersweet time, really, watching my daughter grow up. My hope is that when she graduates, Milton will still be a special kind of vibrant, viable place for her to live and raise a family. And if the numbers we're seeing lately keeping moving in the right direction, I have no worries it will be.
If you feel the same way, or even if you don't, feel free to get in touch with me or any of the folks at City Hall. We're always glad to have you.
Sincerely,Mayor Joe Lockwood