Abandoned building on Fitzwater Street in Salisbury. (Photo: WBOC)
SALISBURY, Md.- There is an affordable housing debate brewing within the Salisbury City Council.
At Tuesday night's council meeting, some members argued that there is not enough of it, while others said that not the case. Discussed at the meeting was a large multi-story abandoned building on Fitzwater Street. It is a building that many people who live nearby say is an eyesore.
"Because of the economics it was foreclosed on and the bank bought it," said Councilwoman Shanie Shields.
Shields said turning the building into an affordable housing unit could possibly fix that problem.
"I know we talk about home ownership but in today's economy it's hard for people to buy homes for credit situations or foreclosures," she said. "This is my district, this is my neighborhood and I would like to see some positive change done here because it has been forgotten for years."
Shields said she thinks Salisbury does not have enough affordable housing available. She said the ones that are around are specific to either the seniors or the disabled. It is something Billy Jackson agreed with.
"There ain't enough money to be made around here," Jackson said. "If you make some more affordable housing for people to stay or for people to move in, then they can afford to stay in them."
But not everyone on the council is on board. Council President Terry Cohen said there is not enough information to determine the need for more affordable housing, specifically when it comes to the abandoned building.
Cohen along with some other council members said that there has been more affordable housing development in the last few years than the actual building of new homes.
"You are talking about decades of what that property might bring to the city in terms of maintaining the health of it adding to the vision of downtown development and helping people prosper, so I am very disappointed to hear the emotional and the mudslinging that is coming in this discussion and what we want to do to come to a good solution," Cohen said.
Kay Gibson, who moved to Salisbury to retire, said she is not against affordable housing as long as it is done the right way.
"What I want to see are housing units that are appropriate to waterfront property. I want to see upper end units that will make a very good tax base," Gibson said.
Cohen said that compared to other counties in Maryland, Wicomico County is doing well in providing affordable housing.
She said the topic could come up again at the next council meeting, but not until there is enough information about where Salisbury stands in numbers when it comes to affordable housing.
Monday, June 17 2013 11:36 AM EDT2013-06-17 15:36:07 GMT
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