He says he wants to ‘keep Frederick awesome.’
Frederick, Md (KM) A political newcomer has tossed his hat into the ring. Todd Anderson is running for the Frederick Board of Aldermen as a Democrat. He says he wants to “keep Frederick awesome.” “I really think Frederick is awesome,” he says. “But one of the reasons I’m running is I just get the sensed that at City Hall there is a sense of complacency. There’s seems to be a lot of issues that are coming up during this campaign or will be coming up that came up four years ago.”
Anderson says one of them is blighted buildings in the city, specifically, the former Asiana restaurant which has been vacant for years. “I know there’s been some fines that have been levied. But it just seems that they haven’t been able to make any progress on that,” he says.
The City of Frederick has the power to put vacant and blighted properties into receivership, which would transfer ownership from one person to another. Anderson says it’s time for the city to use that authority for the Asiana. “I believe they should. I really do. The owner has been given ample opportunity,” he said. “It really seems that the owner doesn’t have much interest in resolving the issue..”
The City would have to go to court in order to use its receivership authority.
On another issue, Anderson says he would like to see progress made on charting the future of the Hargett Farm property. “I known that a consultant came in and offered these plans for how to develop it. I’m not sure if that’s really the right way to do that. But still that’s something that I really feel they’ve got to make a decision on it. :Let’s just make a decision on it and move forward,” he says.
The Mayor has included funding in his proposed fiscal year 2018 budget for infrastructure and design for the 136-acre property off of Butterfly Lane. Also, a task force has been set up to review proposals for the property, and make a recommendation. There’s also construction work going on on part of the site for Butterfly Ridge Elementary School.
The city purchased the property in 2009 for $18-million with plans to build a park. It’s currently paying $1.5-million in debt service on the parcel.
Anderson also says he wants to include all residents in the city, and not just the downtown. “I just get the sense that outside of the Market Street area and the Historic District–basically downtown–there’s just not as much of a focus,” he says.
One area that could use some attention is the Golden Mile, especially the now-vacant Frederick Towne Mall site. Last year, the city had high hopes that Wal Mart would develop that property, but the retail giant pulled out.
Anderson acknowledges that the former retail center is private property, and the owner has no obligation to keep the city and its residents up to date on any future plans. But he says the city’s elected officials should speak up. “The Aldermen could really put pressure on the Mayor to say ‘let’s work with the owners there and let’s do something so it’s not sitting there empty,'” He says.
Anderson is 50-years-old and moved to Frederick from Germantown in 2008. He works for a federal contracting firm in Landover. Anderson says he’s always had an interest in politics, receiving bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science.
Even though he’s a newcomer to local politics, Anderson believes he has a chance. “Hey, I got to think positive. I didn’t get in this if I didn’t think I could win. I think I’ve got a decent chance,” he says.
Other candidates who have filed so far to run as Aldermen are Democrats Jeannette Bartelt, Antonio Bowens, Kris Fair, and Derek Shackleford. Also running are Incumbents Donna Kuzemchak and Kelly Russell.
For Mayor, Alderman Michael O’Connor is running as a Democrat, along with former Mayor Jennifer Daugherty. Incumbent Mayor Randy McClement, a Republican, announced on WFMD that he’s running for a third term, but he’s not officially filed.
By Kevin McManus