Salisbury's Mayoral Candidates Differ Over Economic Revitalizati - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Salisbury's Mayoral Candidates Differ Over Economic Revitalization Plans

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SALISBURY, Md.- There are now just about three weeks to go until people in Salisbury cast their votes in the city elections. Current mayor, Jim Ireton, is up for re-election. Challenging him is Joe Albero. Both are talking about their plans to revitalize Salisbury's economy.

And that could very well be the number one issue for voters. Albero has just unveiled his economic development plan. Meantime, Mayor Ireton is waiting on council members to implement his plan, introduced nearly two years ago. The two have different visions for how to move Salisbury forward.

Empty storefronts litter the downtown Salisbury area.

"The downtown has been probably in the state it's in for what I can remember, 20 to 25 years, and I think it's something that does need to be revitalized," said Joe Ruark, who works in Salisbury.

Both Mayor Ireton and challenger, Joe Albero, agree on that point. But they differ on how to get it done.

"We can't keep using waterfront properties as parking lots," said Ireton. "We've got to redevelop those mixed use, condos up top, businesses in the middle, commercial space down at the bottom. We've got to utilize that commodity that we have. The waterfront, the historic district. If it's renovated in downtown, it's rented."

"Under my administration, you will not see the parking lots sold for Jim Ireton's 500 affordable housing units," Albero explained. "I'm firmly against that, because once I do revitalize the downtown plaza, we're going to need as much parking as possible."

Albero said his plan is all about jobs

"We've got an airport, we've got rail, we need to bring those businesses here," he said. "And not just pharmacies popping up everywhere, with minimum wage jobs and part-time hours. We need real redevelopment here in Salisbury."

As for Ireton, he said he wants to keep the momentum going.

"I'm excited about what we've done so far, because its been a hell of a lot of work, but there is still something that the city needs to do," he noted. "It needs to partner with our businesses, it needs to create the EDU free zone downtown, in order to incentivize businesses coming back in the urban quarter."

The other candidates include Council Vice President Debbie Campbell, who is running for re-election against challenger Jake Day in District Two. In District One, Cynthia Polk and April Jackson are trying to unseat Councilwoman Shanie Shields.

Salisbury's general election is April 2nd.

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