Ashby hopes to get more in­volved through comis­sion­ers

Cecil Whig - - PERRYVILLE ELECTION - By JANE BELLMYER

jbellmyer@ce­cil­whig.com

— Robert Ashby hopes to move from a mem­ber of the town plan­ning com­mis­sion to a place on the board of town com­mis­sion­ers in the May 10 elec­tion.

Ashby, 48, said he finds town gov­ern­ment ex­cit­ing and ed­u­ca­tional.

“It’s fun and you learn a lot about the town and dif­fer­ent peo­ple and what’s go­ing on,” the Scran­ton, Pa. na­tive said.

Ashby is one of three names in the race for com­mis­sioner, which also in­cludes in­volved cit­i­zen An­thony “Tony” Gerst and in­cum­bent Ray Ryan III. Also in the up­com­ing elec­tion, Mayor Jim Eber­hardt

PER­RYVILLE

is run­ning un­op­posed for a sev­enth term.

Ashby at­tended his first town meet­ing not long af­ter pur­chas­ing his Aiken Av­enue home three years ago.

“I moved to this town be­cause I like this town,” he said. “I don’t see neg­a­tives. I see pos­i­tives.”

At his sec­ond town meet­ing, he said he heard about the open­ing on plan­ning and zon­ing. Not long af­ter­ward, he was ap­pointed to that board. It’s given him his plat­form.

“We need to build that bridge over I-95 on Route 222,” he said.

The traf­fic bot­tle­neck has re­port­edly stalled fu­ture de­vel­op­ment of the prop­erty sur­round­ing Hol­ly­wood Casino. Like many oth­ers, Ashby points out that the state widened a sim­i­lar bridge off the in­ter­state in Aberdeen with­out de­mand­ing cost shares.

“How much did Rip­ken Sta­dium do­nate to build at Route 22? That bridge is 53 years old,” Ashby said. He said it is unfair that Per­ryville has to chip in to end the bot­tle­neck on the state road.

He also wants the town’s trou­ble­some wa­ter distri­bu­tion sys­tem with its many wa­ter main breaks ad­dressed. Ashby also wants to see that Ice­house Park gets some ameni­ties.

“Right now, it’s wide open,” he said of the water­front prop­erty. “We can’t build any­thing on it, but we could put pic­nic ta­bles there.”

Get­ting power to the com­mu­nity park is another chal­lenge he would take, not­ing that sev­eral at­tempts al­ready made by town of­fi­cials have not been suc­cess­ful.

“Fail­ure is not fail­ure. You just found a way that doesn’t work,” he said.

He de­scribes the town as “a di­a­mond,” adding “but even your di­a­mond needs to be pol­ished.”

“This is small-town Amer­ica,” he said. “I cut my grass on Sun­days and I love do­ing it. But it takes me all day be­cause peo­ple stop by and talk to me, or toot the horn and wave. The peo­ple in this town are great.”

If elected, Ashby said it mat­ters not which ap­point­ment the mayor gives him, but added he would like to be the board’s li­ai­son to the plan­ning com­mis­sion. He also re­al­izes that be­ing a com­mis­sioner is dif­fer­ent than his ap­pointed role.

He has a vi­sion for Per­ryville that in­cludes busi­nesses closer to the water­front. While the town has a grant-funded pier at Rodgers Tav­ern, Ashby said it’s un­der­uti­lized and with good rea­son.

“There’s noth­ing here for them to walk to,” he said.

He hopes to hear from res­i­dents with ideas of how to de­velop a vi­brant main street. He’s a “sit and lis­ten” type, he said.

“I’m only one guy and I’m go­ing to need ideas,” he said.

ASHBY

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