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From the Desk of Mayor Don Briggs

(2/13) Emmitsburg at its best: A recovering cancer patient who works three jobs to make ends meet for her family could not pay the heating bills and the service was cut off for three weeks (including the bone chilling one). Neighbors rally and raise $700 and then drive the payment down to Frederick for her. You just can’t say anymore about our town.

"No one knows, until he tries, how easily a habit of walking is acquired".
Thomas Jefferson –

It’s that time again. The post holiday time where the belts struggle to encompass. A recommitment to exercising at a time when many of our wonderful organizations are hosting events - Vigilante Hose, the Emmitsburg Ambulance, the Lions Club and the EBPA winter dance pose formidable obstacles to the "near to be svelte". The good will of seeing everyone abounds with the complement of good food, well deserved awards and tributes to members who had passed away the previous year. Alas, actualized commitment to exercise and dieting is reduced, yet again, to a concept to be "weighed".

…Thank you again to the Lions Club and the Seton Center for their Christmas food drives.

...Lib and I are looking forward to attending the entry of Peter Charles Wright into the Eagle Scout Court of Honor at the Fellowship Christian Church on February 9th. Congratulations Peter.

…The foyer to our homes where we first greet our guests. Over the last decade we have seen many changes to downtown "business scape". The closings of a restaurant, a specialty store, Radio Shack and an attorneys’ office. The pharmacy moved to the shopping center by Jubilee. The gun shop relocated to West Main. New additions included an antique store, artist shop, barber shop, dentist and coffee store. All the while our pillar restaurants and bank steadied the change with their constant trip generation. Though the appearance is a predictable ebb and-flow of turnover, it is not. Downtowns are special places which cast a lure to entrepreneurs and shoppers of all ages. Unlike other shopping hubs regional, community, neighborhood and convenience centers with their time tested affinity of stores, the right mix of shops and services in a downtown is difficult to "commoditize". Durable downtowns are fragile economies that come with the mix use residential component that has to be respected and served. Shifts in consumer preferences, convenience and parking are always edgy issues that pose challenges to business success. To meet the challenges of the day there always has to a concerted buy-in by the governing body.

We are not Frederick in breadth of scale, but we can learn from the renewal and rejuvenation of downtown Frederick in the mid 1980s. It was an exciting time. Much of downtown Frederick was vacant and boarded up, a carcass of a better time, a mere remnant tribute of business flight to the Golden Mile a decade earlier. Sears and McCrory’s were gone. What turned downtown Frederick around was a commitment by the City to do something. The City bought in and took on the leadership with a committed attentiveness to its history and heritage. What followed was a redevelopment transformation to a destination place rather than one to be avoided or passed through reluctantly. Look at what Frederick has once again become. It was no overnight Lego production, but a persistent ongoing reflection of the people’s aspirations and what they think of themselves.

We are faced with the same choice and the town is doing something. The Square design effort and secured grants say something about us. Last year because of a generous gift by the Mount the 20+ year old trash receptacles on the Square were replaced. This is the only appreciable positive investment to the Square in two decades. It’s our time to do more. It’s our foyer. Let’s do it.

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