Search for Hyde Park leader OK'd

Hyde Park residents will have someone to help them fix their contaminated environment, but it might not be Administrator Fred Russell's first choice.

 

Members of the commission's subcommittee voted Monday to approve Commissioner Marion Williams' substitute motion to set up qualifications and guidelines for hiring a Hyde Park project director. City officials will come up with the guidelines and qualifications, and advertise the position.

Mayor Deke Copenhaver's original motion called for Mr. Russell to recommend a project director to the full commission.

Mr. Russell had recommended Augusta businessman Steven Kendrick for the job last month, but the full board rejected his choice. At that meeting, Commissioner Andy Cheek contended that Mr. Kendrick did not have the technical expertise to lead such an effort. He said Augusta had many engineers and others who would be more qualified.

The project director would work 20 hours a week under a $50,000-a-year contract, according to subcommittee Chairman Don Grantham.

The mayor's motion might have prevailed Monday, but Mayor Pro Tem Betty Beard abruptly left the meeting after Mr. Grantham wouldn't allow her to finish a statement she wanted to make.

Mrs. Beard and Mr. Copenhaver told residents at the meeting that hiring a project director to spearhead the effort would be a big step forward.

"We have not had anybody dedicated to Hyde Park," the mayor said.

Afterward, Mr. Grantham said the commission doesn't need to hire an engineer or scientist to work with Hyde Park residents.

"I don't think we need that type of contamination expert," he said. "We don't need that type of experience. We've already received that from the EPD, the EPA and from the Gannett-Fleming reports. What we need is a person who will coordinate the efforts of Hyde Park through its communication with its residents and to be able to assimilate all that to come with a decision that will benefit not only the residents, but the government as well."

Mr. Grantham said the administrator should recommend someone as project director.

"And if we don't like that person after the project goes on for a while, then we are certainly at freedom to release that responsibility and get another one," he said.

Also Monday, Mr. Copenhaver outlined his plan for a Brownfields Commission that would develop a plan for identifying and remediating contaminated sites in Augusta.

Reach Sylvia Cooper at (706) 823-3228 or sylvia.cooper@augustachronicle.com


RESPONSIBILITIES OF HYDE PARK PROJECT DIRECTOR

- Review all current information available regarding Hyde Park and develop a comprehensive summary.

- Meet collectively and individually with the residents of Hyde Park to discuss the current status and begin the development of a plan that best meets their needs. Develop a newsletter that can be circulated monthly.

- Work closely with the mayor's Brownfields Commission to seek funding for clean-up, voluntary relocation and revitalization of Hyde Park. Funding sources should include federal, state, local and private resources.

- Establish a timeline for plan implementation, and report monthly to the administrator on the progress.

- Develop and manage public/private partnership to enhance the Hyde Park community.

- Work closely with the city housing and community development office to ensure that Hyde Park receives the benefit of all appropriate resource opportunities.

- Develop a model that can be used to enhance other similar impacted communities.

- This position reports to the city administrator.


MAYOR DEKE COPENHAVER'S BROWNFIELDS COMMISSION

- Develop a comprehensive plan for identifying, remediating and redeveloping the Brownfields site in Augusta. Inventory and rank known Brownfields locations.

- Develop a local budget and seek federal, state, local and private funds to accomplish its goals.

- Use local money as "seed money" to apply for appropriate grants as directed and approved by the Augusta Commission.

- Coordinate the city's efforts in keeping the public aware of Brownfields locations and the opportunities for cleanup and revitalization opportunities.

- Research and develop funding resources that might be available for the voluntary relocation of the residents of Hyde Park.

- Provide an annual report of progress to the mayor and members of the commission as part of their budget submission.

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