In what Public Information Coordinator Patti Mullins called the most successful mayoral question-and-answer session she has seen in her tenure with the city, Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor got up close and personal Friday morning with a cross section of his constituents.
Mullins said 25 to 30 residents came out to the Waffle House on South Jefferson Street to talk to O’Connor about everything from traffic access in new developments to support for the arts to garbage can replacement. The session was O’Connor’s first as mayor and invited residents to come ask questions and make comments about anything and everything city-related.
Mullins said the session began early, at 7:30 a.m., and lasted nearly 2 1/2 hours. She said a group of about 10 people were already waiting when they pulled up and that the residents were a mix of ages and races and came from various parts of the city.
“It was a resounding success,” Mullins said. “We were very pleasantly surprised. We didn’t have any idea how much turnout we would have. Two people on social media said they could come.”
The question-and-answer session was O’Connor’s first since taking office in December and was similar to former Mayor Randy McClement’s Talk to the Mayor Tuesday events. O’Connor is taking a different spin with his sessions, though, and instead of holding them at City Hall, he is moving them around to different neighborhoods.
Mullins said officials are working now on when and where to hold the next one.
Call is out for historic preservation enthusiasts
The upcoming expiration of a Historic Preservation Commission member’s term has prompted a call for new applicants for the board.
City officials seek applications from the public every time a commissioner’s term is close to ending, regardless of whether the sitting commissioner hopes for a reappointment.
In the current case, Chairman Dan Lawton’s term is set to end March 19. He said after a commission meeting Thursday that he is interested in serving another term and said he let Mayor O’Connor know before he took office about his desire for reappointment.
Mullins said other qualified, interested applicants have until 4 p.m, March 20, to submit applications to Pam Stocksdale, office manager, at 101 N. Court St., Frederick, 21701, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although Lawton’s term technically expires March 19, Mullins said he will stay in position until the next commissioner is appointed, or if he is reappointed, until he begins his new term.
Interested applicants must possess certain qualities for eligibility, including possession of professional or academic training in such fields as history, architecture, architectural history, planning, archaeology, anthropology, curation, conservation, landscape architecture, historic preservation, urban design or related fields. The applicants must also live in the city and have a minimum of two years’ experience as a professional, or a bachelor’s degree in one or more of the listed fields.
The term runs for three years and the mayor will choose the appointee, who will then receive final approval from the Board of Aldermen.
No replacement for
Robbins on hotel committee
Earl Robbins Jr. officially bid his farewell on March 1 from the ad hoc Downtown Hotel Advisory Committee after nearly six years, leaving the group without a chairman.
On Friday, Frederick County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Elizabeth Cromwell said the group is still intact but that no plans exist to replace Robbins as its leader. The group operates under the umbrella of the chamber, and it would be up to officials from the organization to appoint a replacement leader.
“The chamber has a lot of ad hoc committees. Some have chairs, some don’t,” Cromwell explained Friday.
The group formed in 2010 with a mission to help bring the hotel project downtown, help develop the Request for Proposals that went out to developers, and help decide which developer to choose.
The group helped guide the RFP award to developers Plamondon Hospitality Partners and now meets every few weeks to discuss the progression of the project, Cromwell said.
“We are still meeting,” she said. “They haven’t put a shovel in the ground yet, so there are still a few issues to work toward on that.”
The proposed multimillion-dollar, 180-room hotel and 20,000 square-foot conference center planned for 200-212 E. Patrick St. is moving through the design phase with the city’s historic preservation and planning commissions. It has a projected 2020 completion date if all everything goes as planned.