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Council to hear revised version of Downtown Main Street Plan

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — After a combined 10 virtual and in-person public input sessions and 40 one-on-one discussions with downtown stakeholders, staff will return to the Salisbury City Council today with a revised draft of the Downtown Main Street Plan.

Council members will meet virtually at 6 p.m. The meeting can be streamed live at salisburync.gov/webcast or via the city’s Twitter and Facebook accounts. Anyone who wishes to speak during the public comment session can sign up by 5 p.m. by emailing City Clerk Kelly Baker at kbake@salisburync.gov or 704-638-5233.

The initial draft of the Main Street Plan was presented to city council officials at the December meeting by design and engineering firm McAdams, which was hired in 2019 to create plans that would improve the safety, mobility and appearance of a 10-block stretch of Main Street. The area in the plan — formulated from guidance from the North Carolina Department of Transportation, Downtown Salisbury Inc., city staff and local residents — spans from the Monroe Street intersection with South Main Street to the railroad tracks on North Main Street.

The plan includes left turn lanes throughout the entire corridor, with designated areas for bus stops and unloading zones. As one travels farther north in the corridor, parking will transition from diagonal on both sides to a split of diagonal parking on one side and parallel parking on the other.

The first part of the plan, which is set to take place between March 17 and Nov. 15, involves re-striping by the NCDOT. The second phase includes a long-term vision for sidewalks and parking improvements to beautify the downtown area and make it more appealing for pedestrians, and will be funded via grants.

Wendy Brindle, the city’s engineering director, told the Post it’s still too early to know when the second phase will begin and how long that project will last, but making sidewalk changes and implementing “bump-outs” requires upgrading the underground infrastructure, which is likely to extend the process.

Since December, public input on the proposed plan has remain mixed, with some in favor but others calling for more measures to increase pedestrian safety, ensure parking and implement more accommodations for bicyclists. Pam Coffield, owner of Stitchin’ Post Gifts, as well as Koco Java owner Arturo Therecka are entirely against the proposed three-lane model, which is intended to slow traffic in the busiest area of downtown.

The project was budgeted in the 2019-2020 budget in the amount of $138,920. A budget to implement the city’s share of the Striping Plan is requested in the 2021-22 budget.

Today’s meeting will include a public hearing session. Action will not be taken until the March 16 city council meeting. The proposed plan can be viewed by visiting salisburync.gov/Government/Community-Planning-Services/Community-Plans/Downtown-Main-Street-Plan.

Also on the agenda:

• Council members will consider an ordinance that would establish a citywide nondiscrimination policy. A request for the ordinance comes from council member Tamara Sheffield.

• Council members are expected to formally approve a six-month moratorium on the city’s Historic Landmark program. The issue emerged after requests in January for local historic landmark status for homes at 124 Ellis St. and 619 South Main St. Both requests were approved at the Feb. 2 meeting, but council members approved a moratorium at the Feb. 16 meeting to set goals, objectives and standards for what qualifies as a landmark property.

• Council members are also expected to formally approve the rezoning of 101 acres in the 600 block of Earnhardt Road, north of Stokes Ferry Road. The rezoning request would allow for the construction of homes on 246 lots as part of the fourth phase of a single-family home development. True Homes, LLC, is constructing the development, called Shay Crossing. It will eventually offer 382 single-family units ranging from 1,200 square feet to 3,600 square feet in size and from $195,000 to $285,000 in price.

• Council members will consider voting to support a grant application for money to build a sidewalk and pedestrian crossing between Brenner Avenue and a sidewalk recently terminated near Woodleaf Lanes on Jake Alexander Boulevard. The goal is to provide pedestrians with a walkway from the existing sidewalk on Statesville Boulevard all the way to the the shopping areas along Jake Alexander. It will also act as a connection to the existing/proposed greenway system by providing a starting point for a potential greenway trail to Salisbury Community Park.

The total cost of the project is $845,040, with the city responsible for a 20% match of $169,008. If the application to the NCDOT requesting funds for the project is accepted, city staff will return to council for execution of a municipal agreement.

• Council members will consider adopting an ordinance that amends chapter 16, article V of the city’s code relating to the Greenway, Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee to reflect updated titles and duties.

• Council members will consider adopting an amendment to the city’s manager’s employment agreement to clarify post-employment health, disability and life insurance benefits. Following a closed session meeting on Feb. 16, council members returned in an open session, and Mayor Karen Alexander announced that council members unanimously agreed City Manager Lane Bailey has “performed beautifully, especially in light of the challenges of the past year.” She added then that Bailey insisted on no salary increase out of concern for the current and upcoming budget.

• Alexander will formally declare March “Women’s History Month.”

• Bailey will provide council members with a second quarter financial update.

• City council members will consider appointments to various boards and commissions.

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