Change is in the air for both Salisbury University and residents of the Salisbury community.
Newly-elected Mayor Jacob Day led a discussion hosted by the SU Smart Growth Club regarding his aims for urban redevelopment and growth throughout much of the city.
The event titled “Diet and Exercise: Urban Redevelopment in Salisbury” was held this past Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in the Henson Science Hall as an integral feature of the club’s “Sustainable Communities” lecture series which aspires to educate students and members of the public on lessons of environmental sustainability.
Club advisor Amal Ali kicked off the event with introductions of herself, the club’s officers and the mayor himself.
Mayor Day has been a life-long resident of Salisbury. He studied architecture at the University of Maryland and later acquired additional degrees from Carnegie Mellon and Oxford Universities.
He has served on the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy and has just recently been elected mayor of Salisbury after running unopposed. He is also a current First Lieutenant in the United States Army.
The mayor focused his presentation on what he called a major personal aspiration: community unity. He argued that by revitalizing the city’s core, members of the community can come together in celebration of their home.
A major component of his plan is through the strict continuation of recent successes.
“In the past, great work has been done in some aspects of the city, but was never continued or fully followed-through,” Day said.
He emphasized that the city of Salisbury will have to diet itself by reducing outward urban sprawl and exercise the great aspects that are already present in the community.
Statistically speaking, Salisbury is an up-and-coming metropolitan area with a 28-year age median, 85 percent graduation rate, 79th fastest growing economy in the nation, 55 percent drop in crime and a steadily declining unemployment rate.
“By exposing Salisbury’s personal identity and investing in that, we can become a more attractive destination to outsiders,” Day said.
Recently, an advertising firm was contracted to do just that, and very soon municipal advertisements will be celebrating the city as, “Maryland’s Coastal College Town” among other proud distinctions.
“It is every city’s aspiration to become a leading community by example, and that can be done through a revitalized city core and continuous dedication to improvement,” Day said.
Nonetheless, progress has been made over the past few years with the start of the downtown trolley service, the “Buy a Home, Build a Business” program and the beautification project of Main Street and the Wicomico River waterfront.
A new master plan consisting of input from both urban planners and community members calls for continuous improvements, with the first being overdue adjustments to Business Route 13 in coordination with the Maryland State Highway Administration.
Other improvements include funds being delegated to the enhancing of city parks, as well as the providing of summer jobs to local youth.
The event was open to both students and members of the public.
“I attended in order to better understand the community I spend so much time in and that I call home throughout the school year,” freshman Shannon Smith said.
With regard to the student body of SU, the mayor wished for students to focus on individual achievement with the hopes that all students will embrace the community and possibly refer to it as their home following college.
For the next 20 years, Day said he has big plans for the city, predicting it will be “The Best Small City in America.”
By SAWYER CORNELIUS
Featured photo: Mayor Jacob Day pictured following Salisbury University lecture (Sawyer Cornelius image).