Pickerington Times-Sun

Census figures show city, township still growing

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According to 2012 estimates of the U.S. Census Bureau, both Pickerington and Violet Township experienced population growth in 2012, continuing a trend upward while other Ohio cities and townships remain stagnate.

While the Census Bureau conducts its actual resident count once every 10 years, it updates its Population Estimates Program annually, taking into consideration such indicators as birth and death records as well as tax returns.

The Census Bureau report, released in May, indicated Pickerington gained 109 residents while Violet Township added 138 people in 2012.

Comparatively, Fairfield County's only other city, Lancaster, lost 17 people.

Of the seventeen townships in the county, Bloom was the only other township with a significant increase in residents, with 42.

Pickerington Mayor Lee Gray said the population growth validates his belief the area offers more for prospective settlers.

"Pickerington is a great place to live and provides great value," Gray said.

"We're one of the only cities in central Ohio with a 1-percent income tax," he said.

"We have exceptional schools that continue to score high on state report cards."

Gray said he considers it a positive that people are choosing Pickerington "because it shows that people appreciate our community and what it has to offer."

Pickerington City Manager Bill Vance said the growth is reflected in the increased number of housing starts in the city.

"The continuation of Pickerington's population growth substantiates our city as increasingly being one of the premier suburb cities of Columbus," Vance said.

"The fact is proven by Pickerington's steady annual permitting figures associated with approximately 100 new residential single-family homes being constructed over the last couple years," he said.

Vance said residential growth, spurred by excellent schools, has stimulated a growing Pickerington commercial tax base which is essential to "pay for and provide police, road maintenance and parks and recreation services and opportunities to a regional population approaching 50,000 people."

According to U.S. Census figures, Pickerington nearly doubled in population from 2000 to 2010, from 9,792 to 18,291.

City Development Services Director Joe Henderson said the dramatic increase made it the second fastest growing community in central Ohio in 2011.

"This is based off of the U.S. Census numbers by percentage of growth in population from 2000 to 2010," Henderson said.

"Our rate of growth was 86.8 percent, second only to New Albany," Henderson said.

According to Census estimates,Violet Township's 2012 population is 39,165. Township administrator Bill Yaple attributed the township's population increase to a couple of factors.

"We've seen fairly stable growth through all of this economy," Yaple said.

"I think it's because of the good quality school district within township boundaries and the township's proximity to attractions in the Columbus market area," he said.

Yaple said Pickerington and Violet Township often get lumped together, however, he credited the Pickerington housing market with helping to fuel much of the growth.

"Pickerington's increase is because of (new) houses," Yaple said.

"Their builders have been building, ours haven't as much," he said.

"The last few years our growth has been somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 or less new houses a year," Yaple said.

"We're seeing an uptick in the number of permits this year over previous years, but we don't have the growth Pickerington did," he said.

According to the Census Bureau, other central Ohio suburbs that experienced notable population growth in 2012 were Delaware, Dublin, Gahanna, Grove City, New Albany and Upper Arlington.

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