DeSoto County Administrator Vanessa Lynchard had news that business leaders in Olive Branch were happy to hear Tuesday afternoon: the center of residential building growth in the county has found a home in Olive Branch and its immediate area.
Lynchard provided the Rotary Club of Olive Branch information during an appearance at the Olive Branch Country Club that detailed the growing number of building permits that were taken out for new homes in DeSoto County.
Residential building permits in DeSoto County last year numbered 1,253, Lynchard said. The figure reflected the steady, but continued uptick in residential permits since 2010, when only 483 permits were taken out for the entire year, as the 2008 recession took hold.
The 2016 figure is also 161 above the number for 2015, which ended with 1,092 residential permits taken out. DeSoto County reached a high of 3,112 permits in 2006 before the recession started in full force.
Of the municipalities in the county, only Southaven at 376 eclipsed Olive Branch, which totaled 319 residential permits last year and the unincorporated areas of the county attracted 379 new homes. Lynchard pointed out, however, that much of the new home construction has been in the eastern part of DeSoto County.
“We’re having building all over the county,” Lynchard said. “We have 75 sub-division applications that were submitted in 2016. It looks like there is growth to come in DeSoto County and for the future it looks like there will be some good things going on.”
As more people are attracted to settle in DeSoto County, Lynchard told the Rotarians it will be important to have an accurate count of everyone when the 2020 U.S. Census is taken. She said efforts are already underway at the county level to promote an accurate count.
“The county is in a good position to provide accurate addresses for the census because we have a great GIS system,” Lynchard said. “It has helped save the county so much money. It was a very forward-thinking thing for the Board of Supervisors to do to start the GIS, or geographic information system.
Current estimates place the county population at about 173,000 as of 2015.
“The census is so important for us because it involves what representation we are going to have at the federal level,” Lynchard said. “It’s a big deal for the county, whether it’s our municipalities, the county, or whatever. It’s a big deal for the county to make sure that we get a complete count of our census.”
Bob Bakken is Staff Writer and may be reached at 662-429-6397 ext. 240.