Mayor Appoints Two New Members to Historic District Commission

Elkton Town Meeting, July 21, 2010 –  Mark Clark and Josh Brown were appointed to the Historic District Commission by the board, as a result of a recommendation from Mayor Fisona.  The Mayor decided not to reappoint two original members, Deborah Storke and Mike Dixon.  Deborah’s husband ran unsuccessful against the mayor in the May 2010 town election.  Mike has been an outspoken advocate for preservation in the municipality and for open government.  When the town tried to sell part of the Historic Elk Landing Foundation property to a developer, he disagreed publically with the Fisona administration.  He is also the publisher of this blog, which focuses on filling the news media gap related to municipal affairs in Elkton, since print media seldom covers municipal affairs.

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11 responses to “Mayor Appoints Two New Members to Historic District Commission

  1. Elaine Barclay

    sorry for our loss… keep doing what you do best Mike.

  2. Mike – While this isn’t related to Elkton specifically, I had to share this AP story reported today about the elected officials in a small community outside of Los Angeles.

    At least it’s not this bad in Elkton —- yet.

    Let me know what you think about what the community organizers are doing in Bell, CA. Could Elkton citizens learn from this?

    Calif. town outraged to learn of officials’ pay –
    http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_16026/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=5WBlIbjh

    Wayne

    • Wayne:

      What an interesting story. You would have enjoyed watching the Elkton town board try to give itself a raise a couple of years ago. They voted either 3 or 4 times before finally getting all the steps right and getting it in place. The Whig even got after them over that one.

  3. I’m sorry, but it just smells of retaliation. I am not aware of anyone who is more involved in Historical Preservation than you. I have no qualms with the two new members, but I work on the principle of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”

    • Thanks Scotty. I actually use these experiences on the lecture circuit and this will result in the development of another good case study.

      After the town decided that part of Elk Landing wans’t historic enough to keep and eventually backed down after lots and lots of noise, I developed a workshop called blogging for preservation advocacy.

      What amazed me with Elk Landing was how determined they were to go ahead with handing that land over to a developer, despite mounting evidence indicating this wasn’t a good idea. That included memos from the administrator saying don’t do it, issues with the state grant, a brownfield with the other land they wanted to buy etc.

      Of course, now that I’ve heard the recent trial and listened to the judges remarks on that case, it was similar. The Mayor & Commissioners were determined they were going to go ahead with that project, despite lots of evidence saying slow down, let the professionals handle the situation, and then get it right.

      Citizens weren’t allowed to comment until the formal vote had been ratified and the preliminary discusssion took place at a workshop where the agenda didn’t indicate that the topic was under consideration so the public had no way to get involved until after the fact. I’m sure if they’d fully understood the trouble this was going to make for them, they’d at least slowed down and let the professional staff get it right for them.

      Just as with Elk Landing once the politicans decided it was going to happen, it didn’t matter what anyone else said, until they ended up in court in this case.

  4. So now we have two business owners who are going to be involved in the Historical Preservation. I agree with Scotty about retaliation and may I add it sounds like a bunch of sour grapes. Next the Mitchell House will probably go for another parking lot.

    • Joan: Isn’t it amazing how much Elkton has lost as far as older historic building just in the past few years or decade. Eventually you reach a point where you hardly know this was an old town. Look at North Street where we have more than enough parking lots and an over abundance of paring space. In fact parking lots are the dominant feature in the downtown block of that street. Remember the old Whig Building, Mechanics Hall, etc. Those were attractive structures that contributed to creating an attractive environment that can pull business downtown.

      I’ll bet you remember the time when Elkton did have a parking problem!

      The National Main Street program recognizes the importance of maintaining this older enviroment so downtowns can competet with Walmarts and other big box stores since they’re not going to be able to do it on price.

      In fact the National Main Street program says that historic presrvation is one of the four elements of a successul revitlaization effort.

      Those are some of the reasons I had to disagree with the interested parties that decided they wanted to sell part of Elk Landing, after a developer came along. That’s why I keep pushing historic preservation and cultural resources as a way to try to create some economic stimulus downtown, but that doesn’t seem to get much traction with those in leadership positions.

  5. What are the credentials and relevant experience of these two new appointees? Can anyone share some specifics about their knowledge of local history and their background/involvement in historic preservation?

  6. Zogloba: Mark Clark is a licensed architect and he was once the historic preservation planner for New Castle County, DE. Josh Brown is a managing officer with the American Home and Hardware and he’s the president of the Elk Landing Foundation. Both have good working relations with the Elkton Alliance, the Main Street program that has as one of its purposes the historic preservation of old downtown centers.

    They are quailified represenatives for such a committee, but what’s intresting is that some time ago they’d started a practice of reviewing the resumes of applicants for positions to various boards. That way the public and the other commissioners could hear about qualifications like these (or others) at the public meetings and have a little more inforamtion. Somehow that’s recently been dropped by Mayor Fisona. I’ve noticed lately that the mayor just nominates them. Then without discussion about qualificaitons or anything else the town commissioners approve the appointments. Perharaps they’re discussing them behind the scenes since if you were a commissioner you’d want to know something about the appointments you’re approving. That raises an interesting procedural question related to open public meetings, if that’s the correct scenario. Or perhpas no one is curious on the board.

  7. Thank you Mike for the history of the two new members. I do remember Josh Brown being interested but was unsure about Mark Clark. Again thank you.

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