Mayor Day: ‘We’ve got the wind in our sails’

Mayor Jake Day is all smiles as he gives his victory speech at Brew River last Tuesday.

Salisbury residents should expect to see an emphasis on neighborhoods and housing, continued Downtown revitalization and a few new construction projects as Mayor Jake Day and City Council members face the next four years.

“We’ve got the wind in our sails and we’ve got to keep it up,” Day said, days after winning re-election.

Day received 85 percent of the vote over opponent Wayne King in Salisbury’s election on Nov. 5. The count on election night was 2,323 votes for Day and 395 for King.

City voters also re-elected April Jackson, Muir Boda, Jack Heath and Angela Blake to the City Council, and elected Michele Gregory to replace outgoing City Councilman Jim Ireton.

In the first year of the new term, city officials will be looking at expansions of services for children and the homeless, an attempt to regain control over public transportation and an emphasis on affordable housing, he said.

The mayor and council will soon hold a strategic planning retreat similar to one held four years ago, but it won’t be as intense since voters seem to like the direction in which the city is headed, Day said.

“It’s more of a refresh,” he said.

A separate retreat will be held with city department heads, where they will be asking what areas need the most attention.

Several redevelopment and new development projects are expected to get underway in the not-too-distant future, Day said. The largest is a development planned for the former Salisbury Mall site that has been vacant since 2007 when the building was razed.

The new owners are planning single-family homes, apartments and commercial spaces on the 80-acre property on the city’s East Side.

The property was sold in July to Crossroads Salisbury LLC, a Bethesda, Md.-based developer. Groundbreaking is expected to take place in early 2020 for the section of the land closest to Civic Avenue that will have 150 single-family houses built on it, he said. The apartments and retail space will be built closer to Beaglin Park Drive, but probably not until 2022.

“It’s racing through the permitting process,” Day said.

More housing is coming to the Aydelotte Farms subdivision that added 15 new homes starting in 2017 at Hunter’s Crest.

Work continues on the Vernon Powell building and One Plaza East as well as what will be Downtown Salisbury’s tallest building known as The Ross – a 165-foot structure at 130 and 132 East Main St., using the historical facades of the existing buildings and adding nine more stories.

During his next term, Day said he plans to look at zoning in the city. A comprehensive rezoning of Salisbury last took place in 1983.

“It’s time for us to do that work,” he said.

Much of the work in the city’s Downtown Master Plan has been completed or is currently underway, but there are still a few projects remaining, including improvements along Fitzwater Street, a boathouse at the Salisbury Marina, the Camden Street pedestrian bridge, a redesign of Carroll Street and the Riverside traffic circle, Day said.

City Council members will take the oath of office and hold a reorganizational meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 18, at 6 p.m. in the council meeting room.

The following week on Monday, Nov. 25, Day will be sworn in at the Salisbury Fire Department Station 16 on Cypress Street, where he will address the crowd. The 6 p.m. event also will serve as a ceremonial swearing-in for council members.

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