By Aaron Jordan
Mason Times staff writer
Quality of life, good housing, and a quality school system are all reasons that the population is rising in Mason.
According to the 2010 census, the population was 8,252. The 2000 census said the population was 6,714. In a state where total population declined, Mason grew 23 percent in that decade.
Doug Klein, executive director of the Mason Area Chamber of Commerce, said that number has risen since then. Klein said the population now is approximately 8,300. Klein said a variety of factors are contributing to the rise, but a major one is housing.
“Our houses are priced reasonably, and we offer different types of housing,” Klein said. “Our taxes are not so bad, either.”
Luanne Dancer, Realtor and co-owner of Vision Real Estate, Inc. said most sales are in the $100,000 to $120,000 range. Dancer said the biggest reason she’s heard for people to move to Mason is to be closer to family.
“We also have a lot of people buying their first homes,” Dancer said.
The Mason Public School District is also a source of pride for the community. The district includes Steele Street Elementary, which, according to Superintendent Mark Dillingham, is highest in overall academic achievement of the three elementary schools.
“All three of our elementary schools have shared this distinction in the past, and even now, academic achievement varies by building in terms of content areas assessed, and by grade level,” Dillingham said.
According to Dillingham, the district has 45 new school-of-choice students. Families drive from most districts in the county, according to Dillingham, the farthest coming from north Lansing.
Mason City Administrator Marty Colburn said the quality of life is a major reason people are moving to Mason.
“Mason is a full-service community that still enjoys the feeling of a smaller community,” Colburn said. “It is a safer community because you do know your neighbors and look out for one another.”
Colburn said the close proximity to Lansing and East Lansing draws people in. He said Mason offers a variety of community events, all with the peacefulness of a strong town.
“The people are the greatest asset, and people often see that and want to be part of something special beyond themselves,” Colburn said. “I guess you just have to live here and experience it to fully realize and appreciate it.”