Washington Evening Journal
http://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1030186

Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 23, 2014

Task Force scheduled to give report

By David Hotle | Jul 12, 2013

The location of the regular Washington City Council meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday has been changed to the Washington Public Library’s Nicola Stouffer room to provide an audio/visual setup for the Housing Improvement Task Force to present its report.
City Administrator Brent Hinson said that the task force, a citizen’s committee looking at different aspects of housing in Washington, has been meeting for the past six months. He said when the city council formed the group, it had said it wanted a report. Hinson said that a slideshow presentation would be included in the presentation.
“They will present their findings,” Hinson said. “They have a written report as well. Council can ask whatever questions, then this will be a topic on council agendas for the next few months.”
Hinson said that some of the topics the group studied with four subcommittees included housing incentives, improvement of existing housing and nuisance enforcement.
The perception that the low end of the housing market in Washington continues to get lower is one of the reasons the task force was set up, Hinson said. He said there are several nuisance properties in town that haven’t been dealt with. The force is exploring what programs and ordinances have other areas used to improve their housing stock.
The City of Mt. Pleasant is one of the communities the task force has focused on due to its improvement in housing, Hinson said. Over the last few years, the city has acquired dilapidated housing, removed the house, and resold the lot for a new house.
“I think one of the major things they will deal with is what to do to deal with the low end of the market that seems to be getting lower in terms of quality and upkeep,” Hinson said. “It is a complicated question. I think you will see some recommendations as far as ordinances we can enact.”
The task force is also considering how to improve neighborhood pride.
Also on the agenda for the meeting is:
• a public hearing on Washington County’s request that the city vacate a small part of East Sixth Street;
• award a contract on the West Tyler paving project; and
• discuss an engineering agreement on the industrial park project.

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