City receives letter from NCDENR clearing disputed downtown site for development

SALISBURY — The state has issued a “No Further Action” letter for the proposed school central office site at 329 S. Main St.

The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources regional office in Mooresville issued the letter today.

According to a press release from the city, City Manager Doug Paris said,

“Letter of No Further Action. Private funding. Shovel ready and funded architectural design. Great location. One hundred sixty-space parking lot.

“Private foundation funding $500,000 in furnishings. $1.25 million in annual retail impact for our small businesses in a growing downtown. A safe workplace for school employees. Overwhelming public hearing support. Civic and business leader support.

“Rowan County Chamber of Commerce endorsement. Rowan County School Board approval. What’s not to like? We are excited to have received the letter that Rowan County required, and are even more excited that the County Commission can now approve this site.”

Last month, an unnamed, prominent Salisbury family offered to finance the $7.3 million downtown central school office.

As a result, neither Rowan County or the city of Salisbury would have to take on debt for the building, the city said in the press release.

A majority of Rowan County commissioners have opposed the site for a central office, saying the property lacked a No Further Action letter from the state.

The commissioners would have to approve a long-term lease by the school system.

“The Rowan County Board of Commissioners does not have the statutory authority to pick the location of the central school office,” city spokeswoman Elaney Hasselmann said in the press release. “The statutory authority to pick the location rests solely with the Rowan-Salisbury School System Board of Education.

“A legislative attempt by the Rowan County Board of Commissioners to take that authority away from the Board of Education failed in the General Assembly. The Rowan County Board of Commissioners has no legal or statutory authority to exclude the downtown location.”

The commissioners have agreed to fund $6 million for a central office but not at 329 S. Main St.

The school board, however, voted to consider three sites, including 329 S. Main St., the former Department of Social Services property and a lot at Summit Corporate Center.

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