When Glen Witham – owner of Bayside Saloon and Grill – isn’t managing his business, he serves as the vice president for the Red Wing Housing & Redevelopment Authority.
The Republican Eagle spoke with Witham about his career, interests and more.
What inspired you to join the authority?
While attending an Old West Main St. redevelopment meeting, the (now retired) Executive Director Randal Hemmerlin approached me about an opening on the board. We discussed the possibility of me applying for the spot and after some prodding he convinced me that I could bring a little different perspective to the table that would have a positive impact.
What do you hope to accomplish for the residents of Red Wing?
Housing is always a popular subject in Red Wing and obviously an important one. So working to help provide much needed housing along with affordable housing are something I wish to be a part of. With that said the organization is called “housing and redevelopment” and for me the redevelopment part is also important and something that I find appealing with my entrepreneur background. There are many vacant properties in Red Wing currently sitting empty that need to be redeveloped. When I look at them I see many options, some that could include combination projects that could accommodate both retail and housing. While on the board I hope we are able to move some of these projects forward.
What is one particular topic that you advocate for?
Along with redevelopment, I also pushed for some type of rental assistance office through the HRA when we were putting together our strategic plan. Not everyone can or wants to buy a house, so rentals are a big part of their life. Unfortunately when looking for a place to rent there is no one stop shop or for that matter any particular place to start. We are housing and I believe that should have a better handle on rentals and programs that can help those who need to rent housing or choose that option.
What is one thing you like most about your job?
Being able to work with all the people involved with the HRA, has been my pleasure. There are so many awesome people in this community and given the chance to be able to work with so many of them through this organization has been an amazing and humbling experience.
What do you find difficult about your job?
Being self employed for the last 30 years, makes it difficult for me to work through the required government process that is part of an organization of this type. I am used to being independent and handling things myself on the spot; it doesn’t work that way with the HRA. There is protocol and procedures that have to be followed and it has been a learning experience to say the least.