James Martin, 2020 Salem City Council
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Economic development is a process. There are many moving parts and pieces to align public & private people, investment capital & incentives, available land in the most suitable locality, business supply & demand feasibility studies, building conceptual design or redevelopment, public expectations & sentiment and of course the will of public officers and private investors to execute. We in Salem have seen at least some measure of our own economic upgrade with the help of our Economic Development Authority that was created during my first term on Salem City Council. Large and small, public and private investments in both new and existing businesses have occurred and are returning the investments. Air Bed & Breakfasts and many restaurants have developed along Main St. following our Downtown Plan with others growing along West Main St. and Wildwood Rd. which have directly supported our revenue needed to renovate Salem High School and other capital projects.
Our existing industrial manufacturers are also said to be expanding workforces and although a large industrial development opportunity with the former Valleydale property has been a challenge, new opportunities are on the near horizon for the K-Mart Building and others. The larger opportunity with our 100+ acre investment along I-81 with the other City and Roanoke County still exists and is actively being worked by the Roanoke Regional Partnership to land the next big thing for our region. Although challenges and transitioning of brick & mortar storefronts are a concern in Salem and nationally, there is much to be encouraged about economically that will eventually create new revenue for the City to further reinvest in our workforce and other critical assets. As we all know, individual and business financial security is a recurring challenge but I’ve seen real, positive change and opportunity for Salem in my first term on City Council.
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