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Monday, October 3, 2016

Kristopher Fair Committed to The City of Frederick

Kristopher Fair
George Wenschhof

The time flew by recently when I sat down and interviewed Kristopher Fair.  The 2017 City of Frederick election will soon be upon us and I had heard his name come up often in talk around town about possible aldermen candidates.

Many may know him for his lengthy experience in working with the highly successful annual Frederick Festival of the Arts, several of those years as the one in charge.  Others may also know him for his work with the LGBTQ community in Frederick.  He has been director of Frederick Pride and chairman of the board of The Frederick Center.

His extensive work with the Frederick County Democratic State Central Committee, including serving as vice chair and campaign manager in 2014, led to him earning the Democratic Volunteer of the Year award in 2015. 

Kris also has completed the nine month course “Leadership Frederick County” and was named “One of The People to Watch” by the Frederick Magazine in May of this year.

For over the last eight years, he has been general manger of the New York New York Salon, Inc. where recently he experienced learning all about the city land management code, zoning requirements and more.  The owner of the Salon purchased a vacant property that required many nuances to repurpose the use of the property.

When we began talking city politics, Kris told me he would not make a decision on whether he will run for alderman until after the national election.

He told me he is concerned with what he described as “a disconnect” with downtown Frederick and the rest of the city.  He would like to see equity of services throughout the city.  He mentioned the development of East Frederick Rising and the Golden Mile Alliance makes him feel there needs to be a central focus on the development of Frederick.

I asked him about the recent news that Wal-Mart had pulled out of their agreement for property on the Golden Mile.  Kris said he opposed the rezoning of the old Fredericktown Mall property for a Wal-Mart over three years ago.  He said he would like to build the identity of the community first and then move forward.

When I brought up the proposed downtown Hotel/Conference Center, Kris told me he loved the idea.  He felt it would “connect all the dots” by supporting downtown business, providing event space and also be located near the airport.

In regard to those who oppose the proposed public/private development, Kris said he believes “communication is the key” and he would encourage sitting down with those who oppose.  "While I certainly support the hotel and conference center, I believe things could have been done differently. Many individuals, who are concerned about the project, express the project has not been transparent. The solution is simple; bring everyone to the table and fully explain the project, its scope and impact. The city's role should be to dispel any misinformation and assumptions."

When I asked him about the “Bighted Property” issue in the city, Kris said “Blighted properties can affect crime rates, property values, and public safety. It’s a serious issue that needs to be addressed. I believe we should be scouring the country looking for best practices. We also should be partnering with our incredible entrepreneurs around the state. There are too sides to this conversation, the owner and a potential buyer. The city should be working both angles, working with the property owner on developing their site and helping identify potential buyers who may see the property as an investment opportunity.”

Kris also shared with me “many NAC meetings are filled with people concerned about speeding and their requests always seem to be the same, they want more speed cameras. The city should recognize that need the citizens in every major NAC are pushing for and identify what they need to bring in to address those fears, speed cameras, greater police presence, etc”.

In concluding the interview, Kris told me he believes strongly in equity and increasing the stature of how the city is viewed in the state.  Kris added he would like to see the city do a better job communicating what they do for and can do for our citizens.  For example, he would like to improve the city website to explain process for permitting, the Historic Preservation Committee and more.

The City of Frederick election is a year away and the tossing around of names of possible candidates will surely intensify, but Kristopher Fair will be one to watch.

Stay Tuned.

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