Salisbury Council President Reviews First Year

SALISBURY – Salisbury City Council President Jake Day reflected this week on a busy 2013, when he was not only elected but became a part of what his campaign was mostly about — bringing life to downtown.
Day said his highlight in 2013 was being elected to the council in April immediately followed by being voted to be council president as a newcomer.
Another highlight for Day in 2013 was being part of a number of initiatives to redevelop downtown. Day listed 11 restaurants were redeveloped in the downtown out of four older buildings, five partnerships with state agencies were announced to redevelop the downtown, free WiFi was installed in the downtown, the opening of the Orange Route bike lane between Salisbury University and the Downtown Plaza and the success of the Third Friday event every month in the Downtown Plaza.
“Thousands flocked to downtown for Third Friday and the first Plaza Christmas tree lighting in over a decade,” Day said. “There is an increased pride in Salisbury.”
Looking back, a few issues the City Council tackled this year that stood out for Day was the hiring of Fire Chief Rick Hoppes, who was named to the position that had been vacant for over a year; providing a raise for the first time in seven years to city employees in accordance with a study commissioned in 2012; selling the old Fire Station 16 for redevelopment; and approving the construction of a new skate park and bike trails in the City Park.
Also, Day reported he was proud to implement a $1.5 million Economic Development Incentive program (EDU Zone), establish the wastewater credit and be a part of the Economic Development Action Team in partnership with Wicomico County and Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce to make Salisbury more business-friendly.
In moving ahead to 2014, Day has set the bar high by setting goals to hold taxes where they are in the upcoming budget session, implement a Manufacturing Tax Credit, open a downtown performing arts center and co-working space, reduce vacant housing stock in the city and implement community gardens and public art efforts.
Day is eager for the new year as he looks forward to a downtown planning process with the University of Maryland School of Architecture beginning in January through May, the sale and redevelopment of parking lots downtown as a Request For Proposal just went out in December and the first class of the Youth Civics Council in September.
Additionally, he is looking forward to the implementation of Veterans Preference and Local Business Preference policies, the construction of Rivers Edge development with demolition of the old building on Fitzwater Street and an opening of a dance academy on the Downtown Plaza.