City moving to redevelopment commission

    It won't be soon and it may not even be this year, but in the not-too-distant future the City of Decatur is going to have something it's never had before: a redevelopment commission.
    Decatur City Council started the ball rolling at its meeting Tuesday night and while Mayor John Schultz said "there is no rush," the mayor and council members seemed enthusiastic about beginning the process.
    A redevelopment commission, said City Attorney Tim Baker, would be used as a funding mechanism to address what were once called "blighted areas," a term no longer used.
    It would be designed, for example, to address areas such as the former Casting Co. site and the onetime General Electric buildings and grounds. It could also act on the development of areas, such as Industrial Park.
    Such an agency would be able to use public funds.
    A redevelopment commission is recommended in the city's new comprehensive plan.
    Tuesday night, council unanimously approved on two readings an ordinance which creates a department of redevelopment. Approval will come with the passage of the third reading at the next council meeting.
    Then it will be on to setting up the five-member commission, three appointed by the mayor and two by council. Those will be non-political appointments; in other words, the commission won't have to have a certain number of people from the Democratic and/or Republican parties.