MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - A June 2014 study reveals that Meridian Township has one of the highest costs of living in
The Regional Affordable Housing Study, presented at the Feb. 9 Planning Commission work session by Dr. Suk-Yung Kim, focuses on the Grand River Avenue Corridor, from Lansing to Williamston. It was conducted in conjunction with the Mid-Michigan Program for Greater Sustainability.
Dr. Kim, an Associate Professor of Interior Design at Michigan State University, said that Meridian Township can work to lower its cost of living by making it so that less households are spending more than 30% of their yearly income on their homes.
"Meridian Township has a really unique population group and a little bit higher income group and really higher median housing value than any others," said Dr. Kim, who is also a Okemos resident. "New, different ideas can be implemented in this community as a model to the other communities."
Meridian Township already has the model of an environmentally friendly community, which can attract potential residents.
However, Dr. Kim said she believes Meridian Township has not reached its full potential of economic and social diversity because it is comprised of mostly single-family homes. She suggests increasing walk-ability and rental or mixed-use housing to target young professionals, senior citizens, and empty-nesters.
"Many planners just believe people have the renter unit just because they don't have enough money for having a house," said Dr. Kim. "But recently many young professionals want to stay in the renter market intentionally, but we don't really have enough good renter units in the area."
Dr. Kim found that a common prejudice in the Lansing area is Meridian Township is only for wealthy people. She said wants to help end the stereotype and believes Meridian Township is in a good position to do so.
"Meridian Township is really in a good position at this time compared to the other areas," she said. "The vacancy rate is not that high, housing is not that old, That means many properties are maintained very properly."