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May 18, 2022 - 8:15am

Revitalizing neighborhoods part of the job for future assistant city manager

posted by Joanne Beck in news, batavia, notify.

Applications have been coming in for the vacant assistant city manager position as Batavia City Manager Rachael Tabelski formulates the role’s top priorities.

The interview process is set to begin in the next few weeks, she said.

“I’m looking at neighborhood revitalization. It's a very long-term look, but I'm trying to coalesce all the information I've gathered in the different years of working with the county and in the city, and bring this project forward,” Tabelski told The Batavian on Tuesday. "We'd like to have someone in place by the end of July."

Earlier this month, Jill Wiedrick submitted her resignation letter after being assistant manager for just about a year. She had announced that she was leaving for another job in Fairport.

Tabelski has ideas about what she’d like to assign to the future assistant, and reinvigorating city neighborhoods is the theme. Her top two goals are to preserve the tax base and eliminate blight, she said.

“The ideas I have about neighborhood revitalization include the possibility of looking at our zoning, looking at flood properties, and how we can bring more value to southside neighborhoods,” she said. “Understanding if there are problems in neighborhoods, and what changes in our code could be implemented to help mitigate those types of problems, helping residents stay in their homes and not be foreclosed on.”

She’d like that new person to understand the various types of programs available for assistance to property owners, and know where “zombie” properties are, along with working with banks to stabilize those properties on a “path to homeownership,” she said.

The term zombie properties was coined for those sites that become stagnant due to the prior owners defaulting on payments and the banking institution locking it down in ongoing legal procedures before the city can claim foreclosure. That has also created issues with landscape maintenance -- or lack thereof -- as the particular property remains in limbo with no one specifically responsible for it.

“Because they do cause a drastic effect on neighboring properties when you do have a vacant property in your neighborhood,” Tabelski said. “And lastly, looking into different land banks and how other communities have used those to move property forward, as well as continuing to work with Habitat for Humanity.

"So this is a very multi-prong strategy and (the future assistant is) going to have other ideas than the ones I presented. And that's what I want their first big job to be, is coming up with defining the strategy today, a strategy which would have multiple paths on it to help Batavia’s neighborhoods, and then starting the execution of those plans into the future.”


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