Philadelphia, December 18, 2014 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter named five appointees to the Philadelphia Land Bank Board as required by the Land Bank ordinance. The appointments are effective immediately and will serve through early 2016.
“I am confident that these board members will help provide the leadership to shape the Land Bank as it supports the renewal of Philadelphia neighborhoods by repurposing vacant properties and turning them into new homes, yards and commercial venues on the tax rolls,” said Mayor Nutter. “I am honored that the new appointees have agreed to undertake this important responsibility. Their expertise and insight will be invaluable.”
The appointees are as follows:
- Paul Badgeris the President and CEO of the Badger Group, a full service real estate firm. The Badger Group is a Certified MBE (Minority Business Enterprise) in Philadelphia and New Jersey. Badger is a member of the Building Industries Association of Philadelphia and the Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors, and Vice President of the board of directors ofHomeowners Association of Philadelphia (HAPCO).
- Nora Lichtashis the Director of Women’s Community Revitalization Project (WCRP), a multi-racial community organization committed to social and economic equity for low-income women and their families. She also serves on the board of directors of the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation (PHDC).
- Deborah McCollochis the Director of the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD), administering an annual budget of more than $115 million in federal, state and local funds that support housing production and preservation, housing services and economic development in Philadelphia neighborhoods. She also serves as a member on several boards, including the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation (PHDC) board, and has taught seminars on housing policy to graduate students in the City and Regional Planning Department of the University of Pennsylvania. She earned a Master’s Degree in City Planning from University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Ohio Wesleyan University.
- Majeedah Rashidis the Chief Operating Officer for the Nicetown Community Development Corporation (NTCDC).Additionally, she manages the NTCDC Land Care Program, which maintains Nicetown’s commercial corridor, and nearly 200 vacant lots throughout Northwest Philadelphia, and serves on multiple boards including serving on the Interim Board of the Philadelphia Land Bank. She studied Community Economic Development at Southern New Hampshire University.
- Denise Joy Smyler, Esq.is a partner at Ahmad, Zaffarese & Smyler, LLC. Smyler serves on several boards, including the board of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA), and is currently serving as general counsel for Pennsylvania Governor-Elect Tom Wolf. Smyler attended New York University, and received her Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center.
“This board selection signifies another milestone in the progress of the Land Bank,” said Michael Koonce, Interim Land Bank Board Chairman and Executive Vice President of the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation. “We are looking forward to working with our key stakeholders to implement our strategic plan.”
Last week, Philadelphia City Council selected five board members: Anjali Chainani, Jennifer Kates, Angel Rodriquez, Courtney Voss and Herb Wetzel. The City Council selections, in conjunction with Mayor Nutter’s appointees, will meet in January 2015 to select the eleventh member of the board and elect officers.
The eleven member board will meet monthly, as required by the Land Bank ordinance of 2013. The board is responsible for the governance of the Philadelphia Land Bank, a City-related agency that was formed earlier this year under the authority of the 2013 Land Bank Ordinance and the 2012 Land Bank Act of Pennsylvania. Early action items for the board in 2015 will include the development of policies to guide the Land Bank’s governance and operations, and the acquisition and marketing of property currently owned by three City agencies. All board meetings are public, and meeting dates and agendas will be available online atwww.philadelphialandbank.org.