By Paige Houpt
Mason Times staff writer
Despite the declining real estate industry, competitive job market and economic recession, the city of Mason saw high population numbers after the 2010 Census data was released on March 22.
Mason had the second-largest growth in Ingham County, when it grew from 7,173 in 2000 to 8,252 in 2010, a 15 percent increase.
Dansville took the lead with a sharp 31 percent increase.
City Mayor Leon Clark, gives credit to the population increase to Mason’s efforts in creating a quality of life for all residents.
“I think we have tried to establish a quality of life, we have an excellent education system, parks and recreation, and the city has worked really well with manufacturers around the city the past few years,” Clark said.
The data show that four of the eight Ingham County communities saw a growth, and Ingham as a whole increased, including Dansville, East Lansing,Mason and Williamston.
In 2000, the township had 279,320 residents. It had 280,095 in 2010. That’s a 1,575 increase or 6 percent.
Clark added that Mason’s geographical location contributes to a population increase. Nearby cities like Lansing and Jackson, residents are able to commute to larger cities, and are still able to live in Mason.
Mason leaders are currently working with neighborhood associations and local parks and recreational programs to maintain the town’s appealing community.
The Ingham County Landbank has been a major influence in the population numbers, according to Martin Colburn, Mason’s city administrator.
The Landbank is designed to assist struggling housing communities by reselling and renovating vacant properties to attract potential property buyers.
Mason currently holds 10 properties through the Ingham County Landbank, and has sold three in the past few years, including one in 2008, two in 2009 and one last year. Three out of the 10 properties for sale are commercial.
“Maintaining the downtown area and keeping it healthy is really important to our community, and we work really hard to maintain it,” Colburn said.
Colburn mentioned commercial developments are another factor to Mason’s high population numbers.
He mentioned Rayner Park located on 730 E. Ash St., the park is one of Mason’s local parks that host a number of fairs and recreational activities.
Other commercial developments like Summerwood, Riverwalk and Green Acres are just a few examples of the quality developments the city has maintained.
Mason city leaders are also aware of Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposals to eliminate another form of revenue sharing., which would affect police, fire and other municipal services. Satutory revenue sharing differs from constitutional in that legislation typically is passed to reimburse municipalities in exchange for the state collecting gas, sales and other taxes.
The maximum constitutional revenue was made in 2000 and 2001 with $850,000 for Mason alone. Colburn said constitutional revenue has increased since that time by about 4 percent. The population increase will help the city compete for some of those dollars.
but for now, Mason leaders are content with the population numbers.
“It’s exciting news for a town this size and for all the hard work we put into our community,” Clark said.
Ingham County communities who saw decreasing numbers included: Lansing by 4 percent, Lainsburg dropped by 9 percent, Stockbridge by 3 percent, and Webberville had the lowest decreasing population of 16 percent.