Lima housing improvement group putting vision into focus

LIMA — The Strategic Planning Committee of the Lima Community Improvement Corporation met Tuesday to discuss its vision of “building neighborhoods and connecting people” in Lima.

The LCIC is a non-profit organization that grew out of a 2019 housing assessment that identified the need to develop and improve the quality of housing in Lima. Mayor Sharetta Smith says that the LCIC was created as the entity to take the lead in addressing these issues.

Looking to take a holistic approach to improving Lima’s housing quality, the LCIC highlights the importance of creating inclusive, equitable and economically-diverse neighborhoods. Rather than center development on specific neighborhoods, it will look for opportunities for improvement across the city.

Its aim is to help correct housing disparities within Lima by approaching the issue from all angles. Seeking to ensure that no aspect of development is neglected, concerns like neighborhood input, landlord accountability, and residential livability are all being brought into consideration.

A major point of emphasis in the meeting was the need to dispel the stigma surrounding “affordable housing” and imagine an approach that puts people first. The goal is not just to construct housing but to foster interconnected neighborhoods and communities.

“We talked about our community being better together,” Mayor Smith said. “And a lot of those policies and programs that we’re pushing start by making those investments in people. People can invest in their neighborhoods and build a stronger community. But it all starts with people.”

This people-first approach extends to the LCIC’s selectivity of who it will work with to make these goals a reality. A vetting process will ensure that properties are maintained by “socially responsible developers” with solid track records of experience, strong financial capacity and who are in good standing with their existing properties. Most importantly, the developers will be committed to the local community and share in the LCIC’s vision for Lima’s future.

There is a sense of urgency for the LCIC to move quickly and not allow what Mayor Smith calls “positive momentum” in Lima to pass. “Whether you are a lifelong resident of Lima or you’re new to the community, it is hard to ignore the positive momentum that is happening right now. And so the sense of urgency comes from the fact that many of us don’t want to miss this moment.”

The LCIC will meet again at 3 p.m. Tuesday to finalize the group’s mission and vision.