One person thus far has applied for an upcoming opening on the Columbus Redevelopment Authority Board.
CRA Vice President Mark Alexander Sr.’s five-year term expires Sept. 5. So far the sole applicant for the position is Joseph Bragg. Alexander is not seeking reappointment.
Alexander told The Dispatch via text message Monday that he is stepping down.
“I have decided not to reapply,” he said. “It is a board made up of great, hardworking people that are genuinely interested in the enhancement of Columbus through the redevelopment of blighted areas.”
Alexander was appointed in October 2018 to fill out the unexpired term of Tommy Lott, who passed away in August of that year.
Alexander is a developer and businessman. He formed a national home health care company in Columbus in 1977, and since then has invested in real estate development.
Bragg, currently an agent with Farm Bureau Insurance, served as the president for the Columbus-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce from November 2014 through August 2016.
Bragg, in his application, said he’s had a longstanding interest in the CRA.
“I love to see Columbus thrive with new and innovative ways to make our community better,” he wrote. “I love to see existing structures be revitalized and brought back to life.”
Bragg wrote that he thought there were many opportunities for growth on which the city could capitalize.
“We have so many underutilized places in our city that could be amazing,” he wrote. “As a lifelong resident I can think of places that we could help rehab, rebuild and take to new levels.”
Bragg is a graduate of Columbus High School. He holds a bachelor’s of business administration from Mississippi State University.
The CRA was founded in 2015, and in 2017 the city issued $3.2 million in bonds to buy and redevelop about 15 acres in and around the Burns Bottom area, focusing on a five-block area between Third and Fourth Street North and Second and Seventh avenues.
The CRA plans to attract developers into the area, with the intention of creating a mixed residential and commercial district surrounding the soccer complex and connecting it with the Riverwalk and downtown.
In 2018, CRA brokered the sale of the former Lee Middle School property on Military Road for $450,000. The property is now home to the Lofts and Lee apartments and event space.
Other board members include President Marthalie Porter, Chris Chain, Robert Rhett and Dennis Erby.
Columbus City Council will make the appointment Sept. 6. Those interested in applying can pick up an application at City Hall, 523 Main St., or can apply online through the city’s website.
Brian Jones is the local government reporter for Columbus and Lowndes County.
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