Fenton has seen a “significant decrease” in median household income since 2010, according to the recently adopted master plan.
The median household income decreased from $50,622 to $44,776 adjusted for inflation. The poverty level almost doubled in this same time period, from 8.5% to 15.2%.
The new master plan was adopted Monday, Jan. 10. It contains the history of the growth of Fenton, desired future land uses, housing issues, redevelopment opportunities for the North LeRoy district, and it identifies certain intersections and roadways that are in need of redevelopment due to traffic volumes.
The entire plan can be viewed at cityoffenton.org. The majority of the plan paints a positive picture of the growth and opportunities in the city with business and jobs.
Fenton has an unemployment rate of 4.1%, which is lower than Genesee County at 4.8% and the United States at 5%.
“That is not to say though that the economy of Fenton is as good as it could be,” the plan states.
Fenton’s median household income of $44,776 is 5% higher than Genesee County. However, it is 9% lower than the State of Michigan and 19% lower than the national average, according to the plan. The majority of city residents earn between $10,000 and $50,000.
Nearly 92% of Fenton’s adult population (25 years and older) are high school graduates and more than 28.2% have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
“Much of what happens in Fenton economically is due to the business climate in the greater Flint and Detroit areas. Many Fenton residents work in these metropolitan areas and several Fenton industries subcontract work with companies located there,” the plan states.
Fenton shares a border with Holly and Oakland County, and there’s significant traffic along Silver Lake Road while people head to work. Many Fenton residents work in neighboring counties.
The plan cites “tremendous” job growth moving along the I-75 corridor heading to Oakland County. Genesee and Lapeer Counties will benefit from the housing production along this route. This growth in residential development has increased demand for retail services, including in Fenton.
“The city of Fenton has developed at a much faster rate than previously predicted, partially due to the success of Silver Lake Village. Originally thought to be fully developed after 20 years, this area was near full capacity less than 10 years later,” according to the plan.
Continued interest in Fenton can be attributed to accessibility to major transportation routes, recreational opportunities, high-quality public amenities, a small town atmosphere and affordability.
“The city is faring quite well with one of the big issues of our time: the loss of ‘brick and mortar’ retail to online shopping. Fenton, however, has seen a low vacancy rate with retail space and significant new investment in both Silver Lake Village and downtown,” said Carmine Avantini, president of CIB Planning and Fenton’s city planner, in a previous Times story.