I’ve often complained about the lack of news coverage that Emeryville receives. Well, Australia at least has taken note of our unique little city. GovNews.com sat down with Emeryville’s Community Development Director Charles Bryant for what is described as a five-minute interview. “It is gratifying to know that a tiny city like Emeryville can spark international interest in our story of reinvention” Brant explains.
Bryant has served the city for the past 16 years overseeing important projects such as the EPA Brownfields remediation projects that preceded our transition from “a gritty industrial town to a vibrant mixed-use urban center”. The seven questions take us through Bryant’s thoughts on “Emeryville’s renaissance” administered through the redevelopment era and our city’s modern day challenge of affordable housing. Bryant also serves as the Planning & Building Director and oversees the Planning Commission.
GovNews.com describes itself as “Serving as a bridge between business and government, GovNews is Australia’s independent online resource delivering the latest information crucial to the roles of the key decision makers within the public sector.”
5 Minutes With… City of Emeryville’s Charles Bryant
Charles S. Bryant, AICP, is the Community Development Director for the City of Emeryville, California, overseeing long-range planning, current planning, environmental review, the building permit process, and the City’s economic development, affordable housing, public art, brownfields and grants management programs. During his 16-year tenure with Emeryville, its population has almost doubled and several thousand new housing units and over a million square feet of commercial space have been approved or completed.
Before coming to Emeryville, Mr Bryant worked as a planner for the City of Oakland for 18 years. He started as an Intern while still in graduate school, and had various roles there, including three years as the City’s first Environmental Review Coordinator, three years overseeing long-range planning projects including the General Plan Update, and five years as Planning Commission Secretary and supervisor of Commission cases.
Here we interview Mr. Bryant with a deep focus on the process of transforming a significant portion of the local government area from an industrial ‘wasteland’ to a new thriving economy.
1). Australian public sector readers are fascinated by the transformation of Emeryville’s biotech precinct, especially since local areas in Sydney are going through similar changes – what features and changes are you most proud of in the city?
I am most proud the improvements in quality of life that have been achieved for the Emeryville community. This includes parks, bike paths, recreational programs, early childhood learning facilities, and, most recently, the opening of the Emeryville Center of Community Life. ECCL is a joint city-school facility that houses all grades of the Emery Unified School District, the City’s Community Services Department with recreation and senior citizen programs, and a wellness center, library, gymnasium, and swimming pool for the community. This facility is the first of its kind in California, and it required overcoming many challenges, including an amendment to a state law that previously prohibited cities and school districts from sharing the same buildings.
Read the full interview on GovNews.com →