This first official meeting of the Southport Redevelopment Commission (SoRDC) was opened by Mayor Testruth and handed to the Commissioners for their internal actions.
Russel McClure was quickly selected as RDC Chairman, Duane Langreck as Vice Chair, Roger Harris as Secretary and Jim Cooney as Treasurer. RDC Member Jim Keller also attended as did Councilor N Schmoll. Rob Bettcher, Larry Tunget, Mary Winslow and I followed along from the public gallery.
Regular monthly meetings were approved for the first Monday of each month. The next meeting scheduled for July 2nd at 7PM and I encourage all to attend. These are not contentious nor political meetings and the decisions by this Commission can truly affect our community.
General discussions evolved and included availability city funds, possible RDC advisors, SoRDC boundaries, possible locations of Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) Districts and whether residential areas should be included.
N Schmoll volunteered to report back to the Commission of other similar RDC’s in central Indiana and their meeting dates. It was assumed that McClure and other RDC members could attend other local RDC meetings to learn how those RDC’s function and to build a resource list RDC activities and actions.
Although little was achieved, little could be expected at this initial meeting. At least, it (the RDC) has finally started and has at its disposal so many tools that can dramatically affect the current and future health of our City.
Our current commissioners have the necessary intelligence and apparent passion to do some very good things and my hope and expectation is that they will. Valid concerns have been expressed and include a leadership gap that has yet to be bridged by either Testruth or McClure. Of particular help is Russell’s background as an urban planner. Duane too has extra skills supported by an extended observation and extended viewpoint of our community possibilities. Keller has legislative influence experience in Indiana and probably has the highest view of regional politics. Harris, as a successful and experienced southside realtor will also serve the committee well. Finally, Cooney has had awareness of the benefits of a SoRDC and understands that influence of other local stakeholders in District 1. Jim can bring information associated with Gerdt’s Furniture, the old post office and lumber company properties and particularly an expansion of SUMC.
Kudo’s to Mayor Testruth for driving support necessary to establish the SoRDC. This (so far) is his single most important accomplishment after his inauguration. This Commission cannot proceed on autopilot and considerable effort will be required if it is to avoid the path of Southport’s Main Street Committee.