New Castle County to try once more to launch Resident Curatorship program; Councilman Weiner suggested Resident Curatorship concept in 2002 - Delaforum
“Curator program will be tried again”
www.Delaforum.com Jan 20, 2010
County government will again attempt to resuscitate its resident curator program, but the Department of Special Services was warned that, if it swings and misses for a third strike, it will be called out.
Mike Svaby, the department's acting general manager, told a County Council committee on Jan. 19 that it will use "more aggressive marketing" to interest folks in agreeing to restore vacant county-owned houses -- mostly those with historic pedigrees -- and live in them rent- and tax-free. Robert Merrill, of the department, identified five that will be included in the initial offering: Ivyside in Bechtel Park off Naamans Road; the farmhouse in Jester Park off Grubb Road; the Talley house in Talley-Day Park off Foulk Road; Woodstock in Banning Park off Newport Pike; and the Gregg house on Delcastle golf course off Millcreek Road. The first four went unclaimed during the last effort to establish the program. Merrill said that as many as 20 others could be added if this attempt is successful.
Observing that some county properties "are in such bad shape [that he doesn't] think that the average citizen can fix them up," Council president Paul Clark said he would allow for "one more shot" before introducing legislation to require the county to restore the properties and either sell or rent them. John Cartier said that would achieve twin benefits of having the buildings occupied and producing revenue for the county. David Tackett said that, given current economic conditions, lenders would not lend money to pay for restoration since they would be unable to hold mortgages on the properties. Svaby agreed to explore the possibility of using 'recovery zone' stimulus bonds to help finance restoration.
Merrill said the department already has had three inquiries concerning the Jester property. It was in connection with redeveloping that parkland that Councilman Robert Weiner in 2002 first suggested a curator program. The most recent attempt to start one was in 2005.
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