Bart Mikitowicz has thrown his name into the mix of potential candidates for one of two seats on the City Commission.
Mikitowicz, 33, is a project coordinator for Johnson City’s Glass & Concrete Contracting, which specializes in historic restoration. He is the son of Suzanne Kuehn, former Johnson City Development Authority executive director.
Originally from Woodstock, N.Y., the well-traveled candidate has lived in a number of places and traveled all over Europe. He says exposure to various environments led him to examine more closely the uses of multimodal forms of transportation, and he wants to put that knowledge to use here in Johnson City.
“I moved to Florida when I was five, and my high school life was in Florida,” he said. “Most of my adult life was spent in Europe. When I was 20 to 25, I was constantly moving. While traveling, I became frustrated with the lack of infrastructure in the United States, so I decided I wanted to do a similar type of work as my mother.”
In particular, he said he noticed the lack of a system of trains and inter-city transportation connections such as mass transit that would create easier and safer travel, including public bicycle paths and pedestrian walkways.
“Multimodal transportation is key to our future, and it’s policy- based,” he said. “For example, bus service here stops at 6 p.m., so some people can’t depend on that for transportation. But there are larger-scale problems we need to address. Most people have to go through Johnson City to get to a freeway. Ideally, you would have one major exit for Johnson City. From there you could have a roundabout and roads that lead from there to other points. In Europe, everything is multimodal.”
Mikitowicz earned a bachelor’s degree from Florida State University in social science-interdisciplinary studies and a master’s degree from East Tennessee State University in public administration with a concentration in planning and development.
He also taught social studies and theology at a small middle school in Florida before moving back to New York for a time, working for Forrest Solutions, a staffing agency. Eventually, he moved back to Johnson City to pursue his master’s degree.
His master’s thesis is based on an analysis of the city’s revitalization component of the 20-year comprehensive plan. Mikitowicz studied the policies present in the revitalization component and compared those policies with action, or implementation.
“I found that the city had policies but no completion dates, for example,” he said. “It was flimsy. There’s a lack of responsibility for who is going to perform what task and when. In my opinion, the city — as an entity — has money in the bank, they have good credit. But I want to get projects lined up and be on top of it.”
Mikitowicz said he’s looking toward the future and that he wants there to be strong representation on the City Commission for both the elderly and the young.
“I really want to make sure people can get from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ safely,” he said. “I also think the youth are the ‘X’ factor. They’re more liberal, whether you like it or not.”