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Residents question talk of project

The potential for development on Pangolin Street drew several First Ward residents to the City Council meeting Tuesday in City Hall.

Kory Ahlstrom, the city's development director, said the city had not taken any formal surveys of the targeted site but had received some inquiries and expression of interest for housing.

"At this point the city has not spent any money on development," Ahlstrom said.

Several residents questioned the possible loss of an area that has served as a First Ward playground.

Gregory Sek, a neighborhood resident, urged city leaders to clean up properties before building on the site.

Jim Pasierb, another resident, pointed to the loss of population in the city and questioned the need for more housing.

Ahlstrom assured residents that the project would not proceed without enough interest to build and occupy housing in the area.

In other matters, a city Housing Authority motion to approve staff salaries was defeated unanimously.

The authority staff is paid through federal housing funds channeled through the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. Board members said that because they had not been part of salary negotiations with the staff, they would not approve the wages.

City Attorney Michael Cerrie said the issue requires further consideration.

In other matters:

* Mayor Richard Frey said he is working on ideas to encourage more recycling and expects to present a motion to the Council within the next few weeks. He said that clear plastic bags are being considered to allow trash collectors to be able to see what is thrown away. The mayor said that current recycling efforts are reducing the amount of trash sent to the landfill but that a significantly larger amount of trash still is being picked up.

* Because of mechanical problems Tuesday with a garbage truck, some garbage pickups will be delayed this week.

* Police Chief David Ortolano announced that his department received a grant from the state Division of Criminal Justice Services to purchase a new police car. He said that state bidding prices will be explored but that the grant of about $24,000 will cover the full cost.

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