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2020 Could Bring Big Developments for Ludlow

The City of Ludlow is back on stable financial footing after a rough start to 2019.

Mere months into the new year, interim city administrator Scott Smith, who is also the city's police chief, identified areas of concern that resulted in layoffs and scaling back expenditures. The city also went on the hunt for owed revenue, such as back taxes, and raised other taxes in order to stave off any pending economic collapse.

At December's city council meeting, the mayor and council members celebrated a successful turnaround while Smith hinted at forthcoming developments in the city.

"I think we've renewed the city pride in our city," Mayor Josh Boone said. In his year-end remarks, Boone noted several items that he identified as accomplishments: the end of the city's lawsuit against the Ludlow Youth Football program, which was started in the years before he became mayor and was litigation that he opposed; hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes identified and collected; a repaired relationship with its neighboring City of Bromley; the operation of the former senior center as a community center; and the relocation of the city's history museum and the development of its former site.

"The thing I'm proud of most is we've restored calm and stability to our meetings," Boone said. 

Boone's words were echoed by other members of council.

"I think we've done more with less hassles and I hope we continue to do that," Councilman Tom Amann said. 

Meanwhile, Smith said there may be new discussion about the Ludlow Yards project at a meeting in January.

Ludlow Yards is the name given to a plot of land on Elm Street near the city building where in 2018, the city rejected plans to construct an apartment building with first-floor commercial space. Much concern was raised over the affordable housing component that would have been a part of that project by Philadelphia-based Pennrose. That affordable housing component made the project eligible for some funding mechanisms that Pennrose thought necessary.

Smith said there have been discussions about a new opportunity at the site. "We've been talking at least six months," Smith said. There would be a public meeting before anything is signed, he said.

A prospective developer emerged through word of mouth about the site, Smith said. 

And on the riverfront, Smith said that the city is actively looking for interested developers in what he called "prime property." The city does not control the land, but Smith said that he has been in communication with all interested property owners. 

"Property owners down there are interested in relinquishing control if a development is for the betterment of the community," he said. There would be about 11 to 16 acres for mixed-use development, Smith said.

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher