Task Force To Tackle Downtown Vacant Properties

Task Force To Tackle Downtown Vacant Properties

SALISBURY — Salisbury Mayor Jim Ireton, Jr. this week announced the launch of a pilot program to stimulate the revitalization of several downtown properties.

Ireton has formed a Downtown Task Force to work with selected property owners with the objective of making their properties more marketable and more attractive to prospective tenants or buyers. At the outset, the task force will meet with the owners of several businesses, all on Main Street, including the Allfirst Bank Building, the Hess Building, the Powell Building, the White and Leonard Building and another building at 113 W. Main Street.

The process will begin with a meeting with each property owner in an effort to learn how the city can make the best use of its resources to bring the property back as a home to one or more businesses. It is hoped that by working together, the city and the property owners can use their talents and skills, plus established incentive programs, to infuse new life into vacant spaces.

“The Salisbury downtown is a gem that needs some polishing,” said Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Brad Bellacicco, who will serve on the task force. “This effort to target a couple of properties is a good step forward in polishing our historic commercial core.”

Joining Bellacicco on the task force is Ireton, Allan Hope of Urban Salisbury; Bill Holland, Building Permits and Inspections; Tom Stevenson, Neighborhood Service and Code Compliance; Debbie Campbell, City Council Vice President; and a representative from the Greater Salisbury Committee.

Fed Grants $2.2 Million For Two Farm Projects

BERLIN — U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-MD) last week announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) has selected two projects in Maryland to receive approximately $2.2 million to help farmers better protect water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The funding award includes $2 million for the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s top conservation priority, the Maryland Cover Crop Program.

“Farmers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed understand how valuable the Bay is to our region and the nation,” said Cardin, chairman of the Water and Wildlife Subcommittee of the Environment and Public Works Committee. “The economic value of the Bay is estimated to be more than $1 trillion, but that value is based on the health of the Bay’s waters and fisheries.

Mikulski praised the funding award from both an environmental and economic standpoint.

“This federal funding is good news for Maryland’s agriculture industry and the Chesapeake Bay,” she said. “The Chesapeake Bay is part of who we are as Marylanders- it is part of our heritage and part of our culture- and it’s our greatest natural resource.”

Old Mall Property Clean-Up Ordered

SALISBURY — Owners of the old Salisbury Mall property on Civic Ave. were directed last week to remove the pulverized debris on the site or risk citations or fines.

After receiving a number of complaints, Salisbury Mayor Jim Ireton, Jr., last week directed Neighborhood Services and Code Compliance Director Tom Stevenson to issue a notice requiring the property owner to remove the pulverized debris that has remained on the site since the building was demolished in August 2007. The demolition permit was closed in June 2008.

The notice, issued last Tuesday, gives the property owner until Sept. 14 to remove the material. If the owner fails to comply, municipal citations will be issued or the city will remove the debris at the owner’s expense.

“Business owners in the Twilley Center, and residents of the area have voiced concern over the huge pile of rubble,” said Ireton. “There are environmental risks as well. It is well past time that the pile be removed.”

War Cannon On Display

POCOMOKE — Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officials announced this week a historic cannon from the famous Oyster Wars on the Chesapeake in the 19th century is on loan to the Delmarva Discovery Center in Pocomoke until mid-September.

The DNR is partnering with the Delmarva Discovery Center to exhibit the historic cannon- a relic of the Oyster Police of the 1800s- from now until Sept. 12. The cannon was used to protect the Chesapeake Bay’s oysters during the “oyster wars” of the nineteenth century.

“We are thrilled to have this wonderful piece of DNR and Chesapeake Bay history on display. The oyster wars marked a dramatic time in Chesapeake Bay history and played an integral role in shaping the past of so many Eastern Shore communities,” said Brian Garrett, executive director at the Delmarva Discovery Center. “The Delmarva Discovery Center has exhibits that highlight the oysterman culture of the Bay in the 1900s. This cannon adds a unique and tangible perspective on this turbulent period of time.”

About The Author: Steven Green

Alternative Text

The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.