Constantly working toward the goal of updating the city’s comprehensive plan, the Neighborhood Improvement Committee spent the majority of its meeting Thursday brainstorming potential solutions for Clinton’s building issues.

Among the several items discussed, was what some committee members believe to be an apathetic and cost-prohibitive downtown area.

“Our downtown is getting so barren,” committee chairwoman Wendy Krajnovich said. “I keep hearing, ‘the (downtown) rents are so high.’”

City Planner Mike Reynolds dismissed the notion that businesses and residents would rather utilize the Quad-Cities than Clinton.

“It’s not that people don’t want to go to Clinton,” Reynolds said. “The obstacle is that the property owner won’t talk to the person that’s interested.”

City Administrator Jeffery Horne floated several ideas to the committee, including the possibility of promoting “mixed-use” properties in the downtown area. Mixed use properties would see businesses and residences mixed in the same neighborhoods. This could present several possible benefits, including the ability for neighborhood residents to access buildings, like coffee shops, within walking distance.

However, mixed use areas could further complicate what some committee members believe is an overabundance of commercial space available in Clinton. Committee member Steve Bammon asked if it were possible to determine the city’s building needs.

The committee also discussed what to do about homes considered beyond repair. ECIA grants are available to help rehab projects, but Horne believes the city should be able to determine when a home should not be repaired.

“It’s kind of one of those where I know it when I see it,” Horne said, adding that guidelines need to be drawn up, rather than rely on inspector discretion.

“We need to have some mechanism in place.”

Whatever steps need to be taken to update Clinton’s comprehensive plan and improve the city’s image, committee members agree that it will take time.

“How do you eat an elephant?” asked Bammon, quoting an old adage — “One bite at a time.”

In other action, the committee:

• Discussed its presence at Saturday’s National Night Out. 

Horne said that a committee will have a table set up at the event, and that committee members were invited to come interact with the community.

Horne previously said that a presence at the event, a citywide drive to promote communication between residents and government and law enforcement, might help generate ideas or suggestions for the city’s comprehensive plan.

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