An ad hoc committee created to address issues with blighted and vacant city properties will hold its first meeting in three years.
The Blighted and Vacant Ad Hoc Committee will pick up where it left off on Monday at 6 p.m. The meeting comes after Mayor Randy McClement announced last month he would reinstate the committee amid calls from city residents and elected officials to increase efforts to combat blight and vacancy problems.
The committee originally formed in 2012 to recommend ways to regulate and create programs to help the city handle blighted and vacant commercial and residential properties, The News-Post has reported. The group disbanded after submitting its two sets of recommendations, most recently in December 2012.
Now, the reconvened committee will be tasked with reviewing how the city implemented those recommendations. McClement said he and city staff were still working on other tasks, as a set of goals over a set period of time, similar to the way the committee was directed last time.
“It worked last time because we had the defined time frames,” McClement said.
Just like three years ago, committee members will also have flexibility within those parameters to touch on related blight and vacancy issues that may have arisen in the last three years, McClement said.
A majority of the original members — nine voting members and four ex officio members — will return for the second round. A few who participated in 2010 no longer can due to “extenuating circumstances,” according to Nikki Bamonti, the mayor’s executive assistant.
McClement filled those positions with new members who would maintain the original breakdown of different interest groups and professionals. He also added several additional resident members based on those who expressed interest, he said.
- The reconvened committee will include the following members, grouped in categories:
- Commercial property owners:
- Mike Bowersox, Tony Checchia*
- Commercial real estate:
- Steve Cranford
- , one open spot* (not yet confirmed)
- Residential real estate:
- Kathryn Ann McKenzie, Tamar Osterman
- Banking: one open spot (not yet confirmed)*
- Community development/nonprofit sector:
- Kara Norman, Tee Pecora*
- City residents:
- Matthew Donahue, Truby LaGarde, Ruthelen Greene*
- Steve Stoyke*
- Kathy Griffee*
*Denotes new members
- City staff from various departments, including the mayor’s office, legal, public works and economic development, will also participate as needed.
- The first meeting will be largely a “meet and greet,” according to McClement, as well as a review of the assigned tasks. A specific deadline had not been set as of Nov. 20, but McClement estimated he would set a nine-month time frame for the group to complete its work.
- Monday’s meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at the city Municipal Office Annex on West Patrick Street. This, and all future meetings, will be open to the public.