A Grand Forks businessman says his downtown store has become a “melting pot” of ideas from visitors that he would like, as well as his own, if elected mayor.
Stan Sharkey has run Lost Gypsies on 2nd Street since 2021 and believes cleaning up the roads that link Highway 3 to Market Avenue will help the downtown flourish.
He believes some tree work and lighting would “catch your eye” and attract people into the business hub.
Sharkey also sees the potential for Grand Forks to be a regional tourism hub for Greenwood and Christina Lake.
“Tourism is, I think, the lifeblood of this community. It goes to sleep in the wintertime. We don’t have the big ski hills here that bring people in. But between Greenwood and Christina Lake, consider Grand Forks to be the hub,” he said in an interview with Vista Radio.
As for city politics, Sharkey says he would like a more open door policy so that mayor can share ideas with city council.
“We could talk over some of these ideas that are for improvements for this area. I don’t want to really look at change so much, I want to look at improvements, take what we have. It’s a like a pretty penny, want to shine ‘er up, we want to make it look very nice.”
Other ideas include leveraging major events to create economic spin offs and economic development opportunities for the city while also using municipal tools to give local businesses the incentive to invest. As for art, Sharkey says there’s a potential for an art walk with the murals done by Archer.
But he also believes public engagement is important to make sure “public feedback informs council decision making.”
One of those issues is the upcoming election referendum on borrowing for the recreation center. Sharkey believes if the result is less than 60 per cent, “I really don’t think that’s actually a resounding result.”
Also on his list of ideas is a bus system in the City of Grand Forks for seniors, more “low-cost housing” because “they can’t afford to get in here because there’s nothing available.” He would also like more condos built for people to “enjoy the good life because Grand Forks has so much to offer.”
“I’m getting such a resounding positive feel that people want to come here. People are just dying to get here. I believe that I can do this in my hearts of hearts because I’ve got passion. I’m not a politician. I just love the people in Grand Forks here,” he said.
Sharkey has been married to his wife for 43 years. They have three children and 11 grandchildren. One of their children is living in Thailand and another is in Georgia (Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic).
As for their retro and vintage housewares and clothing shop, “we have a lot of fun with it…we just love the people here. That’s what attracted me to this area. I just want to see this area flourish and I see the potential this town has.”