HAGERSTOWN, Md. (DC News Now) — It has been two weeks since Hagerstown City Council appointed Matthew Schindler to fill an open council seat after Takesha Martinez became mayor.

Schindler says he sees a lot of potential for Hagerstown and already has a couple of priorities. He wants to make sure the city’s first responders team is fully staffed and has all the equipment they need. He also wants to address the number of vacant and blighted properties.

“We must identify properties that are sitting empty right now. Properties that can be better utilized,” said Schindler. “We should try to see what we can do to leverage those, to try to get new businesses in them and to help folks applying for facade grants.”

Schindler said Hagerstown’s proximity to Washington, D.C. offers a strategic advantage for those who want more affordable housing.