Gerst says it’s time to get involved as commissioner
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— He’s been attending town meetings for a year, and Anthony “Tony” Gerst figures now is the right time to officially get involved.
Gerst, 70, is one of three names in the race for commissioner, which also features incumbent Ray Ryan III and Robert Ashby, a current member of the town planning commission. Also in the May 10 election, Mayor Jim Eberhardt is running unopposed for a seventh term.
“I’ve been wanting to run (for office),” Gerst said. “I’m retired now and I have all the time in the world to go around and look at things, talk to people and see what they want.”
Gerst tried at several of those town meetings to persuade the mayor and commissioners to abandon its plans to build a new municipal center, featuring a larger police headquarters and a much larger town hall and administration building.
“I would have liked to have seen the town take the clock tower,” he said, referring to the building at Aiken and Broad streets. Gerst said that $1 million purchase was a better solution than the board’s $7 million plans.
“But that didn’t work out, and you’ve got to move on,” he said.
He’s lived in Perryville since 1993. With his partner, Margaret Barrow, he opened Box Car Avenue. He has since sold the ice cream shop and snack bar on Front Street.
Through the town board, Gerst said he will look out for the needs of the town’s oldest and youngest residents. What the town needs, according to Gerst, is more playgrounds and activities in town for the children.
“I would like to have the same (playground equipment) they have at the Community Park at Icehouse Park,” Gerst said, adding that icehouse Park is more accessible to children on bicycles.
Gerst said if elected he would like to be appointed the commissioner in charge of Parks and Recreation. He also would work to attract new retail into his adopted hometown.
“I would like to get businesses in town and help the ones that are here,” he said. “I want to see more people move into town and start businesses.”
He also wants more of the citizenry to get involved in the life of Perryville, to support and volunteer for events that attract folks to town.
“I want to promote the town,” he said. “I will do my best to help the people of Perryville try to make it a better place for everybody.”