Preservationists turn out to support master plan, Chestnut Hill neighborhood

  • Posted: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 1:15 a.m.

SALISBURY — With overwhelming support from historic preservationists, City Council on Tuesday adopted the Historic Preservation Master Plan, a 72-page road map for improving the city’s preservation programs and strengthening collaboration on preservation issues.

In other business

In other City Council business

In other business at Tuesday’s meeting, City Council did the following:

• Approved an application from Timothy Rogers to operate a pool hall at 723 Klumac Road.

Rogers will have two pool tables at the Stars and Bars Tavern. Police said they are comfortable with Rogers’ plan to maintain an safe environment.

• Appointed Price Wagoner to the Salisbury tourism board.

• Heard comments from William Peoples about a lack of equipment at a city park on Long Street and, after 10 years, still no public transportation to the Community Park on Hurley School Road.

Peoples said the city needs to listen to young people, who asked for a skate park to no avail.

“When you make a commitment to young people, you’ve got to follow through,” he said.

While Salisbury prides itself on historic preservation, the younger generation is the future, Peoples said.

“They move away and they don’t come back home because there’s nothing for them to do,” he said.

Peoples also asked for more improvements at Lincoln Park Pool, beautification at Oakwood Cemetery and repaving at the intersection of Long and Innes streets.

Mayor Paul Woodson asked City Manager Doug Paris to look into the Long Street park situation and told Peoples the city’s street paving funds have been cut substantially, and it would cost millions of dollars to fix all of the roads that need repaving.

Preservationist Ed Clement called the master plan “long-awaited.”

Like others who spoke Tuesday, Clement asked City Council not only to approve the document that was two and a half years in the making, but also to support and assist a new revitalization effort in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood, which he said dovetails with the master plan.

Clement requested protection for historic properties in eight neighborhoods identified in 2001 as potential historic districts. He asked for a moratorium on demolitions in these areas and a new stabilization fund that would help rehabilitate historic homes and put them back into use.

Durham has a similar program, Clement said.

“It has paid off big for them,” he said.

The city should offer an incentive grant program and install ornamental lighting and special signage in these areas, like it has done in other neighborhoods, Clement said.

“Historic preservation honors the past but more importantly, it embraces the future,” he said.

Many people in the large crowd wore stickers in support of the Chestnut Hill revitalization effort. Four historic churches — Stallings Memorial Baptist, Coburn Memorial United Methodist, Haven Lutheran and St. Paul’s Episcopal — anchor the neighborhood.

The Rev. Ed Harper of Haven Lutheran said revitalizing Chestnut Hill would mean safety, security and pride for residents.

“Revitalization would help bring in new people to that area, and I think it would give a shot in the arm to the churches,” Harper said.

The four churches work well together and are not competitive, he said.

“We grow where we’re planted, and we want to be a vital part of that neighborhood,” he said.

Jack Kepley said he was born and raised on South Main Street and has volunteered for 76 years for a Boy Scout troop that meets in Chestnut Hill and has served more than 1,000 boys.

Historic Salisbury Foundation President Doug Black and Executive Director Brian Davis spoke in support of the master plan and Chestnut Hill. Davis said the foundation will open an architectural salvage store this summer, as well as launch a new website.

Mayor Pro Tem Maggie Blackwell thanked everyone who turned out for the public hearing.

“Your input is a crucial part of the decision process,” she said.

After two and a half years, the master plan has been vetted repeatedly, Blackwell said, and she supports it.

Councilman Pete Kennedy said historic preservation “is what makes Salisbury the special place it is.”

Councilman Brian Miller said the plan included nothing detrimental, would not dramatically change historic structures and offered a good collection of resources that already exist.

New Councilwoman Karen Alexander was absent because she is in England, visiting Salisbury’s sister city.

Mayor Paul Woodson also supported the master plan, which passed unanimously.

The plan was funded by a $15,000 federal Historic Preservation Fund grant, along with $8,000 local match. Salisbury received the grant through participation in the Certified Local Government Program, which is a national program to promote effective preservation at the local level.

The plan includes more than 100 specific recommendations, distilled from community input that included three public forums, fifty-plus stakeholder interviews and focus groups, as well as an online moderated forum, said Janet Gapen, the city’s acting planning director.

Many of the recommendations in the plan are simple and can be accomplished without additional expense, while others will need to be included in future budget cycles as funding allows, Gapen said.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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