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John Martin Tends Downtown Businesses' Interests

The city budget has monopolized most of council member John Martin’s first month in office and money will continue to busy him for months after the budget season.

Martin is the sole Common Council member with experience as a downtown business owner, and many of his political goals are designed with the business community in mind.

“I’m very, very sensitive to the Business Improvement District’s issues,” said Martin, who served as the vice chair of BID. “Parking is a big issue, as it is for everyone.”

Martin, a Democrat, has prioritized re-opening the Lyon Place parking garage, which is owned by The Esplanade Senior Care Facility.  The garage has been closed for about a year. Martin would like to have the city buy the Lyon Place Garage or negotiate an agreement with Esplanade to hasten its opening.

Stretching the BID’s boundaries also appeals to Martin, who has co-owned the downtown-based All New York Title Agency, Inc. insurance company for 16 years.

“It’s time to expand BID to the train station and to Post Road,” said Martin, 51. “The hospital would very much like it down there. It’s something I’m going to push for.”

BID currently represents the area from North and South Broadway west to Court Street and from Carhart Avenue north to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Barker Avenue.

Martin said he also supports the proposed six-story hotel on 250 to 270 Main St after he encountered the Metropolitan Plaza during his first Common Council meeting.

“That’s the one piece of downtown that still needs something,” said Martin. “There have been empty stores there for years. That’s all changing now.”

City boards and departments are in the middle of reviewing the Metropolitan Plaza's hotel plans.

Martin filled the vacancy left by former council president Thomas Roach. Roach left his council position after he was elected mayor in February. Martin said he “certainly intends” to run for a full term in the upcoming November elections.

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