Construction surge in 2017 says a lot about our community

With a backdrop of $3 corn and an economy that is struggling in several sectors, this community posted a 10-year building permit total high of $14.4 million in 2017. That’s good news in and of itself, but the good news gets even better when you look closely at how and why that number is as high as it is.
“How did that happen?” some might ask.
The lion’s share of the year-end total came in one permit, a $6.8 million project involving a skilled nursing facility set to open in April. A new Quality Care Solutions entity helped this community solve a growing problem, ending a flow of red ink county taxpayers have been paying to support the Hamilton Manor. A story in this week’s edition reports that the county had provided more than $1.9 million in subsidy to the Manor since 2010, though QCS was able to turn that ink from red to black in the past year, even before the move was made to a new facility. That’s a phenomenal turn of events, due entirely to hard work, a commitment to quality care, and a shared vision to find a positive solution.
Another major factor in this year’s building surge was a concerted effort on the housing front. The Aurora Development Corporation took the lead in planning two new housing subdivisions, getting significant help from BonnaVilla Homes and city leaders to make things happen.
While the building permit total on those projects is significant, it only represents a fraction of the real, long-term value. Aurora now has more entry-level housing, as well as moderately priced lots on which we can expect to see lots of new homes going up in the next few years. Those houses will bring families for our community, employees for our businesses, students for our school, etc. etc. etc.
There were other notable projects on this list, including Griess Trucking’s new $2 million truck wash/cattle washout, and the city’s solar power grid at the wastewater treatment plant. One will bring new revenue to our community from the ag sector and I-80 pipeline, while the other will help reduce the city’s utility costs by going green.
This construction surge didn’t just happen by chance, nor did it likely happen in a lot of other communities Aurora’s size, or even bigger. Numbers don’t lie and the truth of the matter is that Aurora’s 2017 building permit total is astounding!
Kurt Johnson

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