My opponent, Mr. Bruce Hockersmith, has been mayor for three terms and is seeking a fourth.
While the primary responsibilities of the mayor are managing the Shippensburg Police, casting tie-breaking votes at council and holding veto authority over council decisions, I feel that it is essential that we have a leader who will focus on what our community truly needs: Downtown revitalization.
While other Cumberland and Franklin county communities have seen a concerted effort to encourage cultural and economic growth in their downtowns, Shippensburg has lacked momentum.
Our current local government lacks the initiative and/or cooperation to revitalize Shippensburg.
They remain rather inaccessible to the community at large and make it difficult for businesses to open in our downtown.
Several years ago, the borough contracted with a firm, spending public money, to create a downtown redevelopment plan.
Now that plan sits on a shelf in the borough office.
Approximately 10 years ago, a plan was developed to manage traffic on Route 11/King St.
This plan would have been mostly or entirely funded by state and federal government money.
Yet the borough government did nothing.
The idea of downtown redevelopment is not a new one, but it is a good one.
I think that it is time for our town to go in a new direction.
While it is important to preserve the culture and heritage of our town, it is equally important to assure that we have a community everyone can enjoy while keeping a vigilant eye to the future.
I have a three-month-old daughter and I not only want Shippensburg to be a great place in the present, but also for generations to follow.
It is my intention to engage the community and encourage the people of Shippensburg to become involved in authoring the improvement they would like to see.
I have worked diligently as a volunteer to foster cultural and economic growth in our community as a founder of The Thought Lot, member of the planning commission as well as assisting in several other community-based revitalization initiatives.
The Thought Lot is primarily a contemporary arts center, but is also home to several local businesses, including Mosaic Coffee, Jeremy Wolfe Photography and FAC Vending.
Fiscal policy is important for a small community.
We must choose very carefully how we use our resources to assure that everyone in the community feels that they are getting their fair share of a system that we all pay into.
When government officials budget the community’s funds to any project, they must always remember that it is not their money they are spending, but that of the taxpayers.
We must examine every policy to determine its benefit to the community relative to the cost to implement.
I studied and earned a degree in finance and I will use what I have learned as a student and a local business owner to make budgetary recommendations that will maximize every dollar Shippensburg borough must collect from the community.
As a result of feedback I have received while talking to people during my campaign and in an effort to engage all Shippensburg residents, I have already began contacting university organizations to discuss ways for them to be more involved in the up-keep of our community.
There are many creative solutions available for the problems we face, but we must have leadership that is able, willing and ready to acknowledge that we could have a much more vibrant community.
While we can all respect and thank Hockersmith for his years of service as an elected official, I ask you to vote for me, Frank Cressler, on Nov. 5.
Do you think Shippensburg’s downtown should be moving forward economically?
Should we have increased fiscal accountability?
Should our public officials be more responsive to the changing needs of the community? Help me create a safer and more prosperous Shippensburg.