by Lisa Tome
Rising Sun's Mayor is looking to Cecil College students to provide the town with an education.
Along the way, he hopes that the Cecil students will help the town qualify for grant funding.
About three weeks ago, the town partnered with college students who are working to help the town obtain the Sustainable Communities designation. Receiving that designation means that the town could qualify for grant funding.
"We expect to hear about that by the summer," said Mayor Travis Marion.
Earlier this year, the town sent out a request for proposal for an economic development study.
Only one proposal met the guidelines and was deemed too expensive. That included work for the Sustainable Communities designation. That bid will go out again with changes.
In the mean time, the mayor said work is underway to rehabilitate the downtown. He said letters were sent to those who own properties in the old downtown area. He wants to see effort in upgrading the "aesthetic appeal" of the downtown. He said that may take effort from volunteers who would be willing to paint buildings or fix them up.
"The economy is hard. The property owners may not be able to afford it. The town is willing to serve as a liaison to get them fixed up," said Marion.
He also said the building next to PC Enhancements is in foreclosure. "We want a code that states that buildings need to be aesthetically pleasing. Not that they be gold-plated," said Marion.
He said some of those guidelines include gutters attached to buildings, siding attached, no mold growing on buildings, no peeling paint, and more.
"All of these things are currently on our Main Street. I worry that it could be a hazard to those walking by," said Marion.
He said that requests from the town from property owners have gone unanswered. One of the requested five property owners showed up to a meeting called by the mayor. He also wants vacant property owners to fill their store windows, such as property owner Bud McFadden has done at the former Western Auto store. McFadden allows the Historical Preservation Commission to set up displays in his building.
The mayor said that the town is still striving with its identity crisis. "Part of our plan is to find out what Rising Sun is known for. We have a great small town but we can certainly improve it," said the mayor.