COMING BACK: Mayor hopes to reinstate housing authority

COLUMBIA CITY — A return when needed. Columbia City may have its housing authority revived, if Mayor Ryan Daniel gets his wish.“My goal for this year is to get it restarted,” he said.The committee had gone dormant. Daniel said it could take most of the year to revive it, but said it may also form quickly.“There are state statutes I have to follow as far as who is on it,” he said. “But it could take shape very quickly. I have taken some first steps but it is still (early in the year).”Previously the authority worked on air conditioners and roofs. Now, Daniel hopes it would focus on homes that are in disrepair.“If we can renovate and fix up old homes, or maybe bulldoze them if they are too far gone and rebuild, we could rebuild our housing stock,” he said. “It is an opportunity to use what is already there for housing rather than annexing.”The annexation issue is a concern, since that would be the only other option to add homes to the community. Daniel said there are not many locations within the city limits where a large subdivision could be placed.Bringing about this change, according to the mayor, would solve a negative problem with a positive solution.“The epidemic of foreclosed homes, the epidemic of dilapidated homes and things like that — that issue has to be stopped,” he said. “We have to put an emphasis on those homes, fixing them up, making them livable and growing our housing stock internally and organically.”Mayor Daniel made his intent known at his State of the City address earlier in February. In his address he expressed his concern over the growing amount of vacant, foreclosed homes and offered the housing authority as a solution to the problem.