Report: local economy starting to turn
Highlights from a Woodbury annual report show more positive signs that the local economy is on the mend.
Housing starts are up and the unemployment rate is down, while businesses continue to reinvest in their existing structures.
"As the economy starts to turn, we're starting to see the numbers turn the other direction again," said Roger Green, chair of Woodbury's Economic Development Commission.
Those highlights were presented as part of the 2012 community development report at the Wednesday, Feb. 27, City Council meeting.
Green continued to touch on the numbers that show improvement, including $23.3 million worth of investment in commercial construction.
He also said Woodbury's unemployment rate at - 3.9 percent as of December 2012 - is significantly lower than the metro's 5.1 percent rate and the nation's 7.8 percent figure.
"Woodbury has been running traditionally a little bit below the metro area and significantly below the country at large," Green said.
Housing starts have also been on the rise over the last few years, he said, and 2012's numbers show the highest since 2007.
According to the report, Woodbury has the fourth-highest number of new homes in the metro.
And with more than 600 acres in the Phase 2 development opening at the end of last year, city officials anticipate a lot more homes coming this year and in the future.
Green also touched on the city-owned Eagle Valley Golf Course, which was struggling to gain revenues until new rates and good weather came into play last year.
Eagle Valley Golf Course's year over year revenues were up by 26 percent; the highest in the course's 15-year history, according to the report.
In terms of business reinvestment, the Economic Development Commission implemented a business outreach plan that contributed to rising permits in 2012.
The city issued 155 commercial expansion or remodeling permits last year, according to the report.
The report was also reviewed by the Business Development Committee, Environmental Advisory Committee and the Planning Commission. The council accepted the report last week.