DeWitt wants future citizens to move into its community, and its developing multi-use housing to make it happen.
“The whole objective is to have the community that is here enjoy what’s here, talk to their neighbors, and feel good about their community so that they will stay,” said Loretta Spinrad, from the DeWitt Chamber of Commerce. “That translates to more people wanting to live here.”
According to Daniel Coss, DeWitt city administrator, and township manager, Rod Taylor, a huge part of growing the township and city is providing housing for all demographics of people. So, this means that creating all types of housing developments is crucial to success heading forward.
The City of DeWitt and DeWitt Township are planning for growth in the future and planning on accommodating more citizens. The city plans on creating new infrastructure in the downtown area. The ultimate goal is to keep residents in DeWitt while appealing to others looking to relocate.
Coss said what the city and the township are currently working on to move forward with housing additions as well as what they have accomplished so far.
“Most recently we have accomplished expanding two subdivisions with two new phases,” said Coss. “The second phase of Wildflower Meadows has been opened and they started construction on new homes about a month ago and we are preparing to open a new phase of The Oaks development, which is another residential subdivision.”
“Both of these development expansions are single-family homes and between the two will open up about 46 to 50 new single-family lots, which should be completed in the next two years,” said Coss.
Coss also said that all of the road, water sewers, and street lights construction would begin in the spring. The city will be holding a meeting coming up shortly to discuss those plans in more detail.
“We still have some vacant lots in the city that are available for development,” said Coss. “Most of the open land will be development for residential purposes. Some have been identified as more suitable for multi-family uses, such as apartment complexes and duplexes, where you have multiple units in one building.”
While single-family homes will accommodate more families, Taylor says that a majority of the older and younger generation is looking for something other than a detached single-family home.
“DeWitt has had phenomenal growth within the last 40 years in single-family homes,” said Taylor. “The downside of that is that we know that people are getting older and a lot of older people don’t want to live in a single-family home. They may want to live in an apartment, a condo, a townhome or even a cottage located next to a relative. We have noticed that millennials have been following these same trends. They would prefer to live in an apartment or condo over a single-family home.”
While housing development is the main focus moving forward, there are also plans in Downtown DeWitt to help with parking demand as well as incorporate more businesses and residential infrastructure.
“Next summer, Main Street will be reconstructed because we are extending a water main and are going to rebuild the street,” said Coss. “Once we do that, we are going to put in more decorative street lighting and a new traffic signal. Also, Herbison Road will be repaved and the sidewalk system will extend that way too.”
“We have a couple options as far as public parking downtown,” said Coss. “We are looking at reconfiguring the striping system, which would increase our parking spaces from 45 to 57 parking spaces. Additionally, our Downtown Development Authority are always looking to see if property becomes available and if it’s in a location where it would be advantageous to build another public parking lot.”
The biggest project that will be happening downtown, however, is the construction of a new residential and business building on Bridge Street, which is due to start planning and construction in May of 2018, according to Scott Schmidt from Beckett & Raeder, Inc., a civil engineering and architecture company.
“We’re approved for a two-story building and possibly an additional third story,” said Schmidt.
“The idea is that it will be used as a mixed-use building, to bring in more business and more residents,” said Coss. “The first floor will be all commercial space between 7,000 to 8,000 square feet of commercial space and the second and potential third story will be residential apartments.”
There is plenty of planning that is in the works coming in the future to progress the city and the township. Taylor said how all this work will get done and how it will impact the city and township moving forward.
“The key is to make sure that we have slow steady growth,” said Taylor. “If not, our ability to deliver services cost effectively becomes in jeopardy. We want to make sure that we have fast enough growth as to where we are not causing negative impacts that we have to mitigate on our existing residents but we want fast enough growth to where we can keep up with the rising cost of doing business.”
Taylor said DeWitt has a Comprehensive Development Plan that examines the desired growth pattern for the township.
“The document consists of what the current constraints of our community are as well as the future constraints that we want to encourage within our community. An example of that is looking at our housing types and makeup.”
“At the end of the day, what keeps people here is quality of life, quality of life, quality of life,” said Taylor.
Along with bringing in more living accommodations and infrastructure to DeWitt in the future, they also want to ensure that the citizens that currently live there get the most out of what the city and township have to offer. Spinrad said what the city and township are doing to make sure those expectations are met.
“Each year our parades grow by the number of floats and the number of people that come here to watch it,” said Spinrad. “We have our car shows, one in June, July, and August that bring a lot of people into the city and we also have our ox roast in August.”
DeWitt resident Greg Wilshire said what the city and township are doing to project itself into the future and bring in more families to live there.
“I’ve lived in the same house for 22 years, and the community feels like home,” said Wilshire. “There needs to be more apartments and other living areas other than your typical subdivisions, which I know is something they are working on. I also see that the walkway is expanding. I would encourage others to come see what DeWitt has to offer.”