The latest in a series of public presentations by city officials about Middletown’s housing issues is set for today.
City Manager Doug Adkins will speak at 6 p.m. today at the Rosa Parks Elementary School cafeteria; and again at 6 p.m. Aug. 10 at the Amanda Elementary School cafeteria.
The presentations are meant to provide information on the issues facing housing in Middletown and to share possible solutions, according to Adkins.
Since May, Adkins has been meeting with various stakeholders and other community organizations about the issues affecting Middletown’s efforts to improve the city’s housing stock and property values.
From 2011 to 2015, property values in Middletown dropped 13.5 percent, according to Adkins.
Another presentation about housing, not endorsed by city officials, will be made at noon Aug. 7 at the Robert “Sonny” Hill Community Center, 800 Lafayette Ave.
“We’re trying to get more information to make the community more aware of the issues,” said Bishop Mark Monroe, pastor of the Second Baptist Church and president of the Middletown Ministerial Association. “A lot of people are unaware.”
Monroe said Adkins will not be at the Aug. 7 meeting, but information the city manager has already shared with other groups will be presented.
He said while Adkins has met with other organizations in the community, many in the African-American community have not yet seen the presentation.
Among the organizations and stakeholders that Adkins has met with are: Middletown City Council; the Middletown school board; the Middletown Rotary Club; The Chamber of Commerce Serving Middletown, Monroe and Trenton; and the Middletown Real Estate Investors Group.
“We don’t want gentrification to blindside the community,” Monroe said. “All I want is the same consideration that organizations have received.”
Apparently there was some miscommunication between Adkins and Monroe, according to emails exchanged between them on Thursday morning.
Monroe did invite Adkins to a pastor’s meeting next Thursday, according to an email that Monroe sent to Adkins early Thursday morning. In a response later in the morning, Adkins said he would be at Amanda Elementary that night and invited Monroe to join him. However, Adkins told Monroe that he could schedule another meeting to meet with the local pastors.
Monroe said he thought Adkins was going to select some dates to meet and to see if the school buildings can be used.
Adkins responded by saying it looks like a miscommunication happened and that he has been promoting these meetings on his blog and on the city Facebook page.
“Keep in mind there is no set number of meetings to do this,” Adkins said in his response to Monroe. “I want to keep going until everyone who wanted to hear it has had a chance. We can schedule additional meetings for any groups and/or more for the public at large. The key is to get it right, not fast.”