Joe Ayoub, who’s running for Safety Harbor mayor, has released a new campaign video.
Ayoub uses the three-minute video to set out his vision for Safety Harbor:
“As your mayor, I will lead this city with an exciting vision,” Ayoub says. “This vision includes a more vibrant and thriving downtown, protecting our small-town charm, adding amenities to our waterfront park, and reducing the height and scale of the proposed seven-story condo building.”
Ayoub goes on to point out the many vacancies and empty buildings in Safety Harbor’s downtown area. There is a “revolving door,” he says, of businesses moving in and then moving out.
There has been, he says, a “steady transition from a vibrant downtown where people gather to a suburban office park, which is not good.”
Ayoub says his plan to revitalize the downtown area includes public-private partnerships, tax incentives and the hiring of an economic development officer.
As for maintaining Safety Harbor’s small-town feel, that must be done, he says, without impinging on property rights. Ayoub advocates holding the height of buildings along Main Street to 35 feet and protecting the tree canopy.
Ayoub says that the city has spent $5 million during the past four years on the waterfront park but “we still don’t have any picnic benches or shade pavilions.”
He advocates further improvements to the park that include landscaping, more walking trails and a kayak launch.
“This does not include adding a restaurant or a parking structure as I have never supported these ideas,” Ayoub says.
The seven-story condo building was approved before Ayoub’s election to council, but once on the council, he said he led the charge to reduce the size of the development from two buildings to one.
“If elected, I will take further measures to reduce the height and scale of this project,” Ayoub says.
Ayoub has lived in Safety Harbor for 26 years and served for seven years as a council member and mayor.
He is facing Council member Janet Hooper in the March 14 election. The last day to register to vote in the election is Feb. 13.