By Jennifer Grimes
Triplicate staff writer
Crying out against visual blight and the lack of economic stability, citizens packed the Crescent City Council meeting last night.
What is the answer, demanded Ali Hooshnam, after noting six businesses have failed in the last few months (one his own) and that the community has nothing to offer the young people after high school.
We have to get together to build a solid economic foundation. One finger cannot fight the battle. We have to put all of our fingers together to make a fist, said Hooshnam.
And Jim Snow said tourism is important to the Crescent City Harbor District.
The city spent money on a new juvenile hall, and police cars and a lot of other stuff. Why cant we prioritize this money and improve the harbor, he said.
After a litany of other appeals for a general improvement of the city and its economy, the council responded.
Does your group have any recommendations on how to achieve these goals, said Mayor Mike Scavuzzo, referring to the Gateway partnership.
Patty Pearcy then offered information on possible grants that could be acquired for different projects.
Another plea came from Mike Sullivan of Gateway and of the Chamber of Commerce, wanting the city to hire a full-time city planner and to form a permanent, full-time economic development department.
We need to develop the countys economy. We need a city planner to develop an incentive plan to attract and streamline the ability to get major businesses, he said.
Mayor Scavuzzo responded: We already have a process and a very thorough department for building and planning here. He then asked City Manager Dave Wells to affirm.
Yes, we do have information packets put together for potential businesses. When we get a contact, we literally shepherd them through the process, Wells said.
Well, who does a new business contact? Is there anyone, Sullivan asked.
Thats usually me, said Wells.
To offer more ideas, Dave Woodell, store owner and Harbor Commission candidate, stood up to suggest the marketing of the Cultural Center and other venues to bring in entertainment.
He also mentioned his casual interviews with his customers regarding their opinion of the city.
People find the smell of cat urine offensive and the sight of cats in the window of the main drag is ridiculous. Its a health hazard. When a car goes through a wall, its a health hazard. Other cities, like Sacramento dont put with up that sort of thing. We have to start enforcing our ordinances, Woodell said.
Council member C. Ray Smith responded, We have a problem in this city, but it should be the responsibility of the property owners. But if we could have an ordinance, well have the teeth we need to influence property owners to follow through.
We could start by issuing letters to property owners to cleanup, repair and paint their property, and give them a chance to appeal it, he said.
Lets vote for this to be put on the next agenda, said Smith.
After two hours of public testimony, the council agreed the city should consider adopting a visual blight ordinance like Del Norte Countys at the next council meeting on Sept. 18.