Giving YOUR Money Away to a Select Few
Salisbury mayor Jim Ireton LOVES to spend other people’s money. OK, he’s a liberal. Actually, Jim’s politics are somewhere to the left of Karl Marx. Ireton has seldom seen a government program he didn’t love. If Ireton is re-elected, AND if Jake Day is elected to the city council, Jim has a plan to spend some MORE of YOUR hard earned money. It involves re-developing downtown.
Ireton wants to sell the downtown parking lots for a song, subsidize them by waiving the capacity fees for water and sewer, and HOPE that Salisbury will somehow be re-born.
Does anyone believe that adding 500 “affordable housing units” downtown is going to re-vitalize Salisbury’s local economy? Evidently Ireton, along with Jake Day, councilwoman Laura Mitchell, and councilwoman Shanie Shields do.
The “logic” goes something like this:
- You build X “affordable housing units” downtown.
- Businesses such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and other retailers will RUSH to build stores.
- Downtown will be MAGICALLY re-vitalized.
- The world will be a better place.
Does that make sense to you?
500 Affordable Housing Units
OK, we sell off the parking lots, take EDU’s (water and sewer capacity) away from industrial development that could actually create jobs that pay a living wage, and 500 more housing units appear. Do you think that businesses will then flock to downtown? Ireton and his pals do.
Grocery Stores, Pharmacies, and Boutiques … OH MY!
Before a retail business decides to invest in a site they look at certain things, including traffic count and parking. Would you build a grocery store based on a target population of less than 2,000? Of course you wouldn’t!
But wait, wouldn’t people from outside the immediate area come? Would they? I live to the southeast of downtown. There are at least three grocery stores and at least seven pharmacies closer to my home than the downtown plaza. Well, maybe the people who live over on the west side will come? I can think of at least two grocery stores and two pharmacies that are closer. Well maybe the folks from Newtown? Maybe. Where are they going to park? Remember – Jimmy, Jake, Laura, and Shanie have sold all of the parking except for the parking garage. Do you really believe that those folks from Newtown are going to walk across US 50 and then schlep their groceries back on foot?
OK, I’ll agree that one convenience store might succeed under the Ireton plan.
The notion that this will re-vitalize downtown, much less Salisbury’s local economy is too ridiculous for real comment. Downtown CAN be salvaged. It CAN be re-vitalized. It just won’t happen by throwing subsidies at a few developers.
You need a solution that drives traffic. Business people will then be willing to invest their own capital. Look at Joe Albero’s plan. It not only makes sense, it offers a REAL, free-market driven solution for downtown as well as a plan for the city’s entire economy.
Subsidizing residential development was a failure during the real estate boom! Salisbury borrowed millions of dollars that were handed over to a select group of residential developers. What did that yield? Temporary construction jobs. Subsidizing retail doesn’t yield jobs that pay a living wage.
The key is to allow development without unnecessary government interference. The key is show potential employers – not just downtown, but throughout Salisbury – that the city will treat businesses, and residents, like valued customers.
Why can’t Jimmy Ireton learn from past mistakes; both his own and his predecessor’s?