Yesterday afternoon Mayor Ireton presented an uplifting proposal in which he clearly stated he did not author. In fact he used the word "stole" it from an idea created 30 years ago. The Mayor presented his plans to revitalize Downtown Salisbury.
As many of you have seen, Mayor Ireton is a very charismatic person who excels in public speaking, (some call is BS). Nevertheless, I was entertained by his excitement but let me explain why it is so wrong, seriously.
Mayor Ireton wants to surplus all of the parking lots in Downtown. His claim, (and that's all it is) is that barely anyone is using the parking garage, therefore if he takes all of the other parking away and people simply started using the parking garage it would be fine.
So surplus the parking lots and sell them for pennies on the dollar. You know, like the old Fire House 16. I offer $250,000.00, they refuse my CASH offer and then sell it to someone else for $100,000.00.
Ireton wants to build 200,000 square feet of new commercial buildings/space and 500 new residential units. Of course Mayor Ireton doesn't mention any of this being low income or subsidized housing units but nevertheless he's putting the cart before the horse because I'll simply ask you a couple of simple questions.
The first being, what about all of the available retail/commercial space sitting vacant in Downtown Salisbury?
The second question, what about all of the condos and apartments available right now?
The BIGGEST question would be, WHY? Allow me to expand. Please tell me WHAT is drawing people to the Downtown area first. There's not even a grocery store people can walk to. In Jim's speech yesterday he conveniently mentioned the Salisbury Festival, "it's a destination place". OK, for TWO days it is. There's still 363 days to fill to attract people here. Then he mentioned 3rd Friday. Again, that's a few hours 12 days a year. There's still 351 days left.
My point is, as a BUSINESS MAN or INVESTOR, you DON'T build such mentioned space unless there's a much bigger plan and that's why I'm calling it the cart before the horse.
Now, here's where things get really interesting. Remember the old Feldman's deal where Palmer Gillis wanted to purchase the building but said he has forever backed out of that deal. NOT TRUE! Behind the scenes for the past several months, (once against without ANY knowledge to the Council) Ireton has been working with the Historic Society, the Bank of Delmarva,(by the way, who do we know who has stock in Bank of Delmarva) and Palmer Gillis to demo the old Feldman's building with exception of the historic 3 story building.
Ireton has plans to totally revitalize that area BUT AT WHO'S EXPENSE? Guess what, the answer is YOURS and MINE. That's right, we'll pay to tear if all down and when I asked the Mayor why he's not tearing down the 3 story portion he said, because the Bank still owns it.
So the BANK is somehow willing to allow these structures to be torn down, very interesting and unusual. That is, unless you have someone like Palmer Gillis waiting in the background to purchase that property for, (GET THIS) $45,000.00. PRETTY DARNED SWEET!
Now, I need to be very open here and state that I truly respect Palmer Gillis and his ability to see things very few of us would envision. He also puts his money where his mouth is, as long as it's a sweet deal. Can't blame a man for that.
Even with all this being done behind the scenes, the Mayor never confronted the Council about any of this and will once again shove it down their throats expecting them to fold and agree to it all. Well, you and I both know that this project will never fly when you disrespect the actual LEGISLATIVE body who actually represents YOU far more so than the Mayor does.
A good Mayor would have brought this proposal immediately to the Council and NOT be a Mayor who went out yesterday, (for example) and confronted everyone at the Chamber of Commerce luncheon as well as the Lower Eastern Shore Mayors Association dinner last night. He's trying to sell the business community first, (not the voters) and completely ignoring the Council. Oh, wait just a second, let me correct that statement. Stick with me for just a second.
I attended most of these meetings yesterday, one of which was the most important, the Budget Work Session. Guess who WASN'T at the most important meeting of the year, Shanie Shields. Shanie was too sick to attend the budget meeting but when it came to a MAYOR'S DINNER, oh you can believe Shanie mysteriously got a LOT better and was there to support the Mayor. Getting back to my point, Laura Mitchell also attended that meeting as well as the Chamber Luncheon.
So, all that being said, TWO of the City Council Members are FULLY aware of not only the well hushed up Downtown Revitalization Plan, they also know about the Feldman/Gillis project. ARE YOU FOLLOWING ME NOW?
You see Folks, these THREE, (Mayor and two Council Members) know the Mayor's proposals are crap. They also know there are three other Council Members that aren't going to buy into these games. The Mayor runs around selling his snake oil and gets the big crowds while the responsible members say NO. This is how everything this Mayor has proposed has been done. He wants your PITTY while completely screwing the three responsible council members not only in public meetings but the Daily Times is running with everything the Mayor wants run.
You only get the TRUTH from Salisbury News. Yesterday I personally witnessed former Council President Mike Dunn looking at Parker Place with the owner. HMMMMMM, now why all of a sudden do you think there's special interest in the building just across the street from Feldman's? Could it be someone on the INSIDE knows more than the general public? Hey, maybe I made an incredible investment on my building after all.
I know this Post is long so let me start wrapping it up. Please tell me what attraction is situated in Downtown Salisbury that would warrant 200,000 sq ft of new office space and 500 residential units???????
I talk about removing the parking meters to make it more convenient for people to live and shop Downtown. Ireton wants to pull the meters to build apartments/condos/office space on those very same parking lots and force you to park in the parking garage.
You know what Folks, you are going to have another option for your next Mayor. I put the horse before the cart. I will assure you I will make the Council aware of EVERY project brought to my attention immediately to the Council's attention, ALL 5 of them.
This Mayoral Term is only 2 years and I refuse to WASTE any of my time playing games behind elected officials backs. There are 10,000 out of the 12,000 registered voters that do NOT vote. We're going to need YOUR help reaching out to those 10,000 voters and get them to the polls. Are you with me?
Caption (gotta love photo shop)