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Jenkins: City still in running for development funding

Council members discuss drawbacks of declaring a slum and blight district for grant

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Jenkins City Hall.

The city of Jenkins has been determined to be marginally competitive for inclusion in a Small Cities Development Project that would allow both residents and businesses to apply for funding to pay for major building improvements.

One requirement for continued inclusion in project consideration is that the city must declare a slum and blight district, which would correspond with the properties in most need of repair. At the Monday, Jan. 11, regular meeting, council member Charles Hoffman was hesitant to label any section of the city as slum and blight, worried that some residents might feel insulted if they live within an area singled out as a slum and blight district.

Deputy Clerk Katie Caswell said the city has the power to remove the designation in the future.

In addition, the city won't necessarily need to single out a section of the city. Due to the city's size, the council might be able to designate the entire city, in which case no neighborhoods or property owners would be singled out more than any other. Hoffman said that doing so isn't the best promotion for the city as a whole.

Caswell said the city still has a fair chance at being selected even though being deemed "marginally competitive" doesn't sound reassuring. These funding programs often like to include very small applicants like Jenkins because they are more versatile, especially toward the end of the program when less money is available for larger cities.

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In other business Monday, the council approved annual designations. Hoffman will replace Donna Stricker as mayor pro tem.

In addition, the board agreed to review city committees and commissions to determine their value and participation. Among other considerations is the future of the parks commission. The commission has been less active since the founding of the park, with fewer meetings, fewer members and less activity.

The board will contemplate whether to dissolve the commission, try to rejuvenate it or to even seek participation from outside groups such as the Lions.

Mayor Jon Lubke encouraged all council members, but especially new member Kim Bachmann, to register for training courses pertaining to running public meetings.

Travis Grimler may be reached at 218-855-5853 or travis.grimler@pineandlakes.com. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Travis.

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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