The Jamestown Urban Renewal Agency board has approved the creation of a new position focused on housing.
Jamestown Director of Development Crystal Surdyk said the city faces a monumental task when it comes to housing issues, including housing code enforcement and housing conditions.
She said following conversations with City Council members, other housing agencies, and internal staff on how to address this, she came to the conclusion that it doesn’t make sense to split the Department of Development into a department that solely deals with housing development and an economic development department, “I don’t feel that it should be separated. I still think there should be a director of development, not two directors who are working separately from each other and, very possibly, in silos. Economic development and housing and community development are very much intertwined. And so there still needs to be a really cohesive strategy and team around those even though they seem like different things, they’ve not so different.”
Surdyk said the position of Deputy Director of Housing and Community Development Manager will be similar to the Economic Development Coordinator position, but with more responsibilities, “Because housing is so complex and we really want to look at policies, and we’ve been working on some ordinances, and to attack housing and the issues that we have with housing it has to be a multi-pronged approach. And so this position will frankly free me up to do all of the things better.”
Surdyk said while the position was not included in the 2023 JURA budget, there should be enough room to fund it with the upcoming departure of Assistant Corporation Counsel Ben Haskins, other unfilled positions in DOD, as well as more grant funds.
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