It has been two years since the city’s blighted and vacant property committee made suggestions to city leadership for how to bring worn-down, unsafe properties back up to code.
Since, the city has made some progress, but some committee members and other residents are unhappy with the way the city is going about it, and how long it is taking.
Mayor Randy McClement has decided to get the committee back together.
The public meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in Room B of the city’s annex building. The city hopes to get a refresher from members on why they came up with the recommendations they did, and to explain why the city has been approaching the issue in the way that it has been, said Nikki Bamonti, McClement’s executive assistant.
“We want to catch them up and get feedback,” Bamonti said.
Two of the committee members, Kathryn Ann McKenzie and Steve Cranford, said Friday that they hope to explain to new city staff members and the new members of the Board of Aldermen why they recommended what they did.
At the last public meetings on the topic, it seems as if the city has been trying to check items off its list, but it isn’t solving any problems or really doing what the committee had intended, McKenzie and Cranford said.
“We wanted to put the recommendations before them and have their staff be creative in coming up with solutions,” Cranford said.
Residents started a petition Aug. 13 on Change.org asking for the city to reinstate the committee, said Andy Stout, one of the residents who created the petition.
Stout also created a Facebook page last year, “The city of Frederick’s blight problem,” that had 891 followers as of Friday.
Stout said he was disappointed to hear that the city wasn’t formally reinstating the committee, just holding one meeting.
“We need an ongoing and sustained discussion,” he said.
Mayor opens his office doors all afternoon Tuesday
If you’ve ever had a urge to pop into City Hall and say hello to the mayor, his doors will be wide open Tuesday.
McClement has created Talk with the Mayor Tuesday, which he will hold from 2 to 6 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of each month.
The purpose is to allow residents to stop in and talk to him about topics or issues of their choice.
“Anyone is welcome to come to City Hall, pull up a chair in my office and tell me what’s on your mind,” McClement said in a city news release.
Meetings will be held on a first come, first served basis, as time allows at City Hall at 101 N. Court St.
The aldermen prove their wit
Alderwoman Kelly Russell, who just turned 55, insisted at the city’s workshop Wednesday that it was wrong to call people who are 55 and older “elderly,” after reading the word on a document referring to that age group.
“I’m not elderly,” she said.
She joked that she prefers the word “seasoned.”
Another alderman pointed out that her comment, and another joke made during the meeting, would probably make it into this column.
“Don’t tell Jen what to write,” Alderman Michael O’Connor said.
It was my intention to put both of the jokes here to appease the crowd, but when I went to rewatch the video of the meeting on the city’s website to get the exact wording, the footage wasn’t available.
Lance Duvall, the city’s lead video producer, said his team forgot to record that part of the meeting, but he had a backup that would be available by Saturday morning.
This column is due Friday.
Oh, well. You probably wouldn’t have laughed anyway.
Send notes about your city government to Jen Fifield at firstname.lastname@example.org.