Jake Day: We must remain focused on our aspirations

Not every city aspires for something more. Not every city aspires for anything collectively.

Our city has come into a rare but enviable age where we are spending less time fighting among ourselves and instead we are focused on our aspirations.

We have so much to be proud of.

Our quality of life is characterized by a rapidly declining crime rate, beautiful parks, a revitalized riverfront, a bustling downtown, a building market that is outpacing even our boom years, and a fast-growing economy. What is more valuable than the amalgam of superlatives I could rattle off, is that we can be proud to say that we are from – no, we are OF – Salisbury: The Capital of the Eastern Shore.

In the last six months, we have held public goal setting sessions, passed a 20-year vision plan for our Downtown, a 10-year vision plan for our Zoo, defined our identity as the premier city on our Peninsula, initiated six redevelopment projects that will see more than $100 million in development in the coming decade, and begun a new era of investing in our kids and showing them that this is a place where they can thrive.

And the results are showing. Unemployment has dropped nearly 5 percent. The median home price has jumped $15,000. Retail sales tax receipts per month are up $500,000. Construction expenditures are up 270 percent.

The number of jobs continues to climb; we have surpassed peak employment. While every other county on the Eastern Shore south of the Bay Bridge lost jobs, we continue to add them.

We now are the 42nd-fastest-growing job market in America. No other city from the Missouri River to the Atlantic and the Research Triangle to Canada is growing as fast as we are.

We are a full decade younger than the median age for Maryland, with a median age of 28.8 years. We are more diverse than the rest of Maryland, and now our educational attainment is equal to the rest of the state. As state Comptroller Peter Franchot stated when he visited our Inauguration event: “Salisbury is a critical part of Maryland’s economy.”

Our city is the region’s premier economic development tool. With over 90 percent of the total jobs and 91 percent of the economic activity in Wicomico County right in the City limits, our role in the health of the region is ever-growing.

As a man driven by results both in my evaluation of Army officer candidates and in my service to the city, these are just the results Salisbury has been waiting for. The pride and pleasure of our citizens will be my barometer for success.

So, with clarity and passion, we are going as fast as we can, taking clear and decisive action toward our goals. At every step I will be your positive ambassador for our city.

I promise you a city government you can believe in and a Salisbury you can be proud of. Let these words be etched on the entry gates to the city: We are proud to be Salisbury!

Jake Day is Salisbury’s mayor. Contact him at jday@ci.salisbury.md.us.

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