Council recognizes city’s Blight Committee’s work

CARIBOU, Maine — Caribou City Council on Nov. 17 formally recognized Blight Committee members who researched and compiled information for the city’s Blight Toolkit — an extensive resource released earlier this year that guides the city through handling significant property and neighborhood decay.

The council accepted the Blight Toolkit on Sept. 21 for use as a guiding policy to be referenced in land use and development, regulation, creation or enforcement matters, and is currently available on the city’s official website

In the document’s introduction, it is explained that the city council charged members of the Blight Committee with identifying methods to counteract, prevent and reduce the effects of blight in the community. The group identified five major categories in which blight could be fought: bylaws, operations, outcomes, stakeholders and tasks, or “BOOST.”

According to the Blight Toolkit, bylaws establish a framework for how to tackle blight, operations include which actions can be taken, outcomes define successes in the fight against blight, stakeholders are the city’s partners in combating blight and tasks refer to the creation of a plan to eliminate and reduce blight within the community.

The intent of the report is to ensure the city has the tools it needs at its disposal to eliminate blighted spots of the neighborhood and to prevent future instances of blight — from issuing fines and enforcing remedial orders to providing beautification awards and performance-based rental regulation.

The document introduction concludes that the “report is not intended to be fully comprehensive or exhaustive on the subject, but hopefully will provide a solid foundation for building programs and strategies for the future.”

The citizens committee and city staff involved with brainstorming and researching information for the Caribou Blight Toolkit are: Paul Camping, chairperson of Citizens Advisory Board for Residential & Urban Renewal; Phil Cyr, Caribou Nursing Home administrator and former Caribou Planning Board member; John Swanberg, CEO of Aroostook Savings and Loan and member of the Caribou Economic Growth Council; Robert White, Caribou Planning Board chairperson; Christine Solman, Caribou Planning Board secretary; Dennis Marker, Caribou city manager; Penny Thompson, city assessor; Ken Murchison, city code enforcement officer; Christina Kane-Gibson, city events and marketing director; and Denise Lausier, administrative assistant to the city manager.

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