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Parking Deck Subcommittee has organizational meeting

Tom Merz was appointed chairman of the newly formed subcommittee created to address the future of the big parking deck in downtown Houghton. He was officially nominated by member Mike Needham. There was no voting conducted as per rules established at a prior Planning Commission meeting. Dan Liebau was named vice chair. Needham is secretary, rounding out the officers for the panel.

The group also set a twice-monthly meeting schedule, similar to the Master Plan subcommittee. They intend to gather on the first and third Tuesday of the month at noon, at least until the fall if their work is not completed by then. Merz said that he was running out of open nights.

Evenings are getting to be almost impossible for me. I teach at night, the Planning Commission members, meetings are at night, so evenings are not good for me.

Merz suggested that the body may want to wait until having a meeting with the Charrette Institute from Michigan State before soliciting citizen members. The process comes with a $7,000 price tag, and will need City Council approval, most likely decided at the March 24th meeting. Liebau said he wanted to ramp up the process quicker than that.

If we decided on a way to screen candidates, or whatever we want to do for citizen participation in this committee, I think we could potentially be soliciting resumes from those who would be interested in joining this committee and at least kind of kicking a review of those credentials and thinking about what the shape of this committee might look like.

The issue will be decided at a future meeting. Overall, the tone and tenor of the Parking Deck Subcommittee was similar to the Master Plan Subcommittee meeting from last week. Both groups are still in the organizational phase at this time.

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