Committee formed to oversee former Days Inn property
Mayor Sal Panto Jr. on Monday announced the names of those who will serve on a committee to review proposals for 185 S. Third St., the vacant 3-acre parcel that was once slated to be the second location of a Da Vinci Science Center.
In July, the city issued a request for proposals for the site formerly occupied by a Days Inn hotel next door to City Hall. Those requests are due to the city Friday.
While an end use wasn’t specified in the request, it said city officials want a dense, mixed-use development that will involve substantial job creation.
There were 16 members appointed to the committee, which will meet several times over the next two months to interview developers who have responded to the request for proposals.
The goal is to recommend one of those proposals to City Council by the beginning of December, with public hearings to begin in the new year, city officials said in a statement issued late Monday afternoon.
The group will be moderated by Lehigh University professor and urban planner Karen Beck Pooley and will also receive guidance from city officials including Panto, City Administrator Luis Campos, Director of Economic Development John Kingsley, Director of Public Works Dave Hopkins and Director of Planning and Codes Stephen Nowroski.
City Council members Sandra Vulcano and Roger Ruggles will also provide guidance.
The city, which purchased the Days Inn parcel in January 2018, will hold the title to the property until a time the city and developer agree on a mutually beneficial ownership strategy, the July request said.
Earlier this month, City Council voted unanimously to refinance a $6.7 million bond that was used to buy and demolish the Days Inn.
City Finance Director Mark Lysynecky had said the original bond was a two-year note that was due at the end of this year. The refinancing gives city officials until Dec. 15, 2021, to pay off the note, but officials hope a developer is identified before then to take over the property.
Easton officials will work with the developer to design the project, structure a long-term ownership strategy for the property, assist the developer through the city and state permitting process and help secure public funding if it’s required, the July request said.
Panto on Monday also announced the creation of an affordable housing task force that was appointed with the goal of making recommendations to City Council on legislation and programs that could assist with creating affordable housing.
Panto had identified that task force as a goal during his budget address earlier this year. That 11-member task force also includes city staff members Kingsley and Chief Planner Carl Manges.
Members of the 185 S. Third St. Committee:
Susan Eagle, Frank Pintabone, Anthony Marraccini, Matt Loebsack, Patti Mowad Berger, Diane Haviland, Barbara Milewski, Clay Mitman, Joe Feilmeier, Renee Mowad, Gretchen Rice, Charles Elliott, Rachel Hogan-Carr, Phil Mitman, Betty Mauro, Tina Smith.
Members of the Affordable Housing Task Force:
The Rev. Sue Ruggles, Theresa Martin, Yousuf Dahl, Ross Marcus, Neal Koplin, Amy Boccadoro, Gene Pambianchi, Kathy Presto, Jeff Poch, Alisa Baratta, Kurt Carlson.