Housing task force kicks off


By Josh Ellerbrock - jellerbrock@limanews.com



LIMA — The City of Lima’s Housing Task Force officially met for the first time Tuesday afternoon to lay down ground rules and provide an overview of what the 40-plus member group intends to accomplish as it dives into one of Lima’s longstanding issues — its often subpar housing stock.

The group’s mission?

“The Lima Housing Task Force will work to collaboratively develop a 10-year action plan that identifies priorities to accelerate our collective ability to meet the housing needs of all city residents and sets a foundation for continued success through 2030.”

To accomplish its work, the task force has been divided into three subcommittees — design and infrastructure, innovation and sustainability, and policy and implementation — organized to focus on particular areas of Lima’s housing issues.

The design subcommittee will delve into current and future housing developments to encourage ways to update and increase the stock of what’s available in the city. Subcommittee co-chairs include Scott Frenger, executive director of New Lima-Housing for the Future, and Doug Olsson, president/CEO of Greater Lima Region Inc.

The innovation subcommittee — chaired by Lima City Councilor Peggy Ehora and Premier Bank’s Community Development Officer Shannon Tyler — will look at funding mechanisms and other creative ways to “spur housing preservation and development.”

And the third group, the policy subcommittee, will be examining the legality and cost associated with implementing those solutions. Councilor Carla Thompson will chair that subcommittee.

Members of the larger task force have been dispersed to serve on each subcommittee in a way to include varying opinions and diverse backgrounds in each group, Task Force Chair Sharetta Smith said. They include individuals from non-profit housing work, real estate developers, general residents, institutional representatives and a few elected officials.

After explaining the group’s process on Tuesday, not much actually occurred during the meeting outside of presenting information. For the first 40 minutes, participants received an overview of Ohio’s Sunshine laws and were updated on the city’s current housing efforts and policies for background purposes.

According to Smith, the city intends to treat the task force as a public entity to encourage transparency as it conducts business. In other words, meetings will be open to the public, and documents created by the task force will be available to any resident.

Mayor David Berger likened the group to similar task forces organized by the city. In the past, Berger said such groups have been able to tackle large issues — such as keeping the refinery and tank plant open — and he expects this one to make similar headway.

“To me, the Lima Housing Task Force is a similar opportunity to invite others within this process,” Berger said to the roughly 45 participants on the call. “I want to thank all of you. You’re willing to invest yourselves in all of this really important process that will pay dividends for all time to come.”

The group meets at 2 p.m. first Tuesdays. Details are available at www.limahousingtaskforce.org.

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By Josh Ellerbrock

jellerbrock@limanews.com

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

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