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Shovels in the ground and new housing developments rising up on Perrysburg's western and southern sides are signs the economy is stabilizing, the city's new planning and zoning administrator said.
"For a community of 20,000 this is a good level of activity, considering the economy," said Thomas King, who took over the department in June. "It is turning around, and a lot of communities don't have that level of activity."
But perhaps the most dramatic growth could appear at Levis Commons, where 104 acres -- zoned for a mixed use of retail, office, and residential -- sit untouched.
No concrete plans have been brought to the city yet, but Mr. King said he believed development could potentially triple at the popular shopping district starting in the next two years.
School and city officials are already preparing for the city's population growth.
For months, school officials have talked about whether to reconfigure the grades or build a new school as enrollment rises in the future.
Perrysburg schools Superintendent Thomas Hosler, who regularly talks with government officials, said he has closely followed the housing developments.
"We understand people want to be here. A lot of it is because of the schools and the community, and there is land available," Mr. Hosler said. "We have to react to it. That reaction to it is it's going to result in us needing more classrooms and hiring more teachers."
The growth also means the district is likely to shuffle new students to other elementary schools to balance out enrollment instead of sending them to their closest neighborhood school. That happened this year when officials announced plans to redistrict about 24 students from Woodland Elementary to Toth Elementary for the 2012-13 school year.
Elsewhere in Perrysburg, city officials are moving forward to study the police and fire department staffing to see if more personnel are needed in upcoming years. The city is also looking to build a new fire station sometime in 2013 near Levis Commons as more housing and businesses are built nearby.
Mr. King said the three developments' impact on city population numbers was unclear.
But the city's comprehensive plan estimates 28,000 residents in Perrysburg by 2020. Perrysburg had a population of about 20,772 last year, a 23 percent jump compared to 16,945 people living in the city from the 2000 census.
The developments are:
● A proposal recently brought to the city calls for 450 lots on 220 acres near Roachton and Hull Prairie roads. The subdivision is to be called Villages at Canterbury, and the first houses could start going up in the spring, Mr. King said. "That's a 15-year build-out," he added.
● A total of 166 single-story apartment units, dubbed Briarwood Cove Luxury Apartments and targeting empty nesters, are to be built on 26 acres at Roachton and Fort Meigs roads.
● About 500 units for seniors are also planned on 50 acres at Five Point Road and Dixie Highway. The first phase of the project to build 120 units is in early construction, Mr. King said. The facility, called St. Clare Commons, will provide a combination of housing options for seniors, including independent and assisted living.
Contact Gabrielle Russon at firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-351-0361 or on Twitter @GabrielleRusson.