Rep. Rick Youngblood, R-Nampa, told the Associated Taxpayers of Idaho today, “The best economic development tool in Idaho is urban renewal – used correctly. We’ve heard that over and over again.”
Engaging in a bit of hyberbole, he recalled presenting an urban renewal bill in the Legislature in 2013 aimed at restricting some ways that urban renewal is used. “Who knew that when we presented that to the committee, that we literally stepped on a land mine?” he said.
Youngblood is co-chairing a legislative interim committee on urban renewal that’s considering proposals including allowing communities the option of making their local urban renewal boards either elected or appointed. It’s also working toward more transparency, he said, in part by looking into a way to create a statewide repository where all urban renewal plans could be viewed. "In the history of urban renewal, Idaho has many great success stories," Youngblood said. "I ran on a platform that I will support urban renewal, and I will continue." He said he favors "untying the hands of our local governments, so they have more and better flexibility to meet their community's needs." He said he also wants to identify ways to "bring in the public, so that they have a say."