This is a suggestion for Scott Cahill, TAC, and Salem City Council as they consider TAC's proposals.
I haven't heard of any further developments since Mr. Cahill presented his plan to City Council. I've had some questions/objections to the plan as is, but something still does need to be done with downtown. I have kids and grandkids living in Salem, and I do agree that if we leave things as they are, things will continue to go downhill and Salem will be less desirable as a result.
Here is a proposal change I would like to see which I believe would result in a more favorable response:
Could the downtown buildings which have the building owner's own business in them be "grandfathered" out of needing to make their upper levels usable if they don't want to use them? (Assuming of course that their building itself is structurally sound.) If they become vacant, there could be a timeframe (6,9, 12 months) where if they stay vacant they would then have to meet new code. That would handle several of the objections I've heard about the plan.
Also, while I know everyone with an empty building wants business in it, a couple of businesses TAC wants to see downtown concern me.
You'd like a confectionery that sells homemade candy and chocolate, and you'd like some specialty bakeries. My concern would be hurting businesses already here. Heggy's sells chocolates and some candy. And often a pastry bakery sells coffee - what would that do to Friends Roastery which sells coffee and some bakery items? And would a deli sandwich shop hurt the Ice Cream Parlor and others?
I know that what business comes in can't be legislated, but I would caution care in soliciting for a business that would jeopardize an existing business, because the most likely outcome would be both of them failing.
City Council, city of Salem, please do what you can as soon as you can about the buildings downtown that are dangerous. Surely that shouldn't have to wait for any new proposals.