Brandon Park rehab and rental ordinance on City Council agenda

Whether the city can receive funding to rehabilitate Brandon Park and a separate revision of the rental ordinance are among topics City Council is to tackle tonight.

Based on this week’s prior positive recommendations from the public works and finance committees, council is expected to approve a request by the administration for a $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Interior Land and Water Conservation funds to be passed through by the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

The money would be used toward the creation of a “Nature Play” area in the park north of Packer Street. The $125,000 estimated cost for Nature Play, a rock and water outcrop where school students could learn about the plants and animal species frequenting the park, is among the $500,000 in improvements planned for the park.

Other projects include the renovation of the six tennis courts, additional lighting, any necessary improvements to handicapped accessibility as part of the project and pathway connectors to the Nature Play area and other features in the park.

The grant would be a match with the city already agreeing to commit $125,000 of its 2016 community development funding toward the project and requesting council allow another $125,000 of that department’s funding go toward the project as part of the 2017 budget.

The council also will review the second and final reading adopting one part of a revised rental ordinance.

“This is the rental inspection portion of the ordinance, where we added registration requirements to get a better picture who is paying business privilege tax,” said Joseph Gerardi, city codes administrator.

The police enforcement portion of the rental ordinance has been eliminated after the city was sued and paid a landlord $20,000 as the result of a civil action in U.S. Middle District Court, he said.

Police had been given a right to close rental properties for up to six months whenever illegal drug activity, firearms violations or a riot occurred at the location.