Nearly a year ago, a group of local citizens representing various interests got together for a crime prevention task force. The group has initiated several projects since then, including a methamphetamine education forum and an anti-meth club at Peninsula High School. Under the direction of Safe Streets Community Mobilization Specialist Dennis Taylor, the group’s latest task is to create a landlord association on the Key Peninsula.
Taylor said he realized the need while trying to organize neighborhood groups. “What we discovered as we worked with them is that a lot of problems are rentals,” he said.
What that means is that the landlords are either not aware of things like illegal drug activities on their property or are part of the problem. Taylor said the idea of organizing a group geared toward landlords got a little more fire after Lt. Larry Bauer, Pierce County Sheriff’s Peninsula Detachment’s new chief, came on board.
A small group is in the beginning stages of organizing the association and is considering various concepts for how it could work and what its role would be. Bauer as well as Judi Holly with the Pierce County Neighborhood Action Team Program are among those sitting together at the table to discuss how the association could be shaped. Currently, the committee includes representatives from several local developments and private landlords, but Taylor is hoping for more participation.
“To have safe communities… we need to work cooperatively together,” Bauer told the group at a recent meeting. “Getting (the association) started and organized is a tremendous step.”
Some of the association’s roles could be to educate landlords on issues like methamphetamine and domestic violence, share information, train on controlling the quality of tenants and network. The possibilities of creating a chapter of an existing landlord association are being discussed.
“I think it will improve the community, the more we come together,” said Penny Gazabat, one of the organizers. Gazabat, a landlord who says she has been fortunate with tenants, is also on the committee to represent the interests of domestic violence victims. She says many landlords have misconceptions about domestic violence and her goal is to provide training so they can try and help the victim, not make matters worse.
Taylor said he hopes the association will be in place by mid-fall. The group will meet at 3 p.m. at the Key Center Library on Wednesday, July 6, and the first Tuesday of the month after that. For more information, contact Dennis Taylor at 884-7899.