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Editorial: Your ideas for Salisbury

After leaders of Downtown Salisbury Inc. organized field trips to Greenville, S.C., and Asheville to explore new possibilities for development as they prepare to update the city’s master plan for the central business district, we recently asked readers for their suggestions on improving downtown.
The online responses hit on some familiar themes. Several people suggested expanded parking, a perennial issue for both downtown visitors and the businesses that serve them. Others wanted a larger selection of retail shops to choose from ó a goal that Salisbury’s business and political leaders would no doubt love to see fulfilled when the economy picks up. But readers also seem divided over whether the city needs more chain-type establishments, more smaller, independent businesses ó or, ideally perhaps, a combination of both. Some people also mentioned concerns about the crime rate and the number of homeless people on the streets.
While some comments acknowledged Salisbury could take a lesson or two from cities such as Wilmington or Savannah, they also urged city leaders not to try to replicate those examples here. Rather, they said, strive to enhance Salisbury’s own unique character.
Here’s a sampling of readers’ comments:
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“I would like to see more retail stores, maybe a Target (the new Kohls definitely helps!). We need an investor and image overhaul to draw people and businesses to Salisbury Mall. A local Borders or Barnes and Noble would be nice. I love the downtown area but more parking is definitely needed. I would also like to have more places like Stelia that are more modern and classy as far as places to go out at night.”
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“I have never seen a town want to bring people to one area (downtown) so badly. They promote with corporate sponsorship and have a party every three weeks for every business located downtown. Why should those businesses located downtown get all of the special promotions? I think Salisbury should focus on becoming a more complete town and be a small economic powerhouse together. We can’t neglect other parts of town. There needs to be some incentive for local and big business to locate elsewhere in town and not just the downtown area.”
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“I would like for them to fix up the Salisbury Mall and maybe add a second level. That end of town could use a boost, period. We need a variety of stores in the mall: Lingerie store, new department store such as Sears or Diilards, better game room or birthday place for kids, kids clothing store, perfume store, uniform store and a nicer food court. Downtown could use a variety of new stores as well … and fun places for kids and teens to enjoy.”
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“Salisbury needs to use the advantages that it has: antique stores, historic neighborhoods, curio shops, etc. to attract tourism. Issues such as panhandling, unsafe neighborhoods and parking all provide roadblocks to this. Wise development needs to happen to prevent eyesores such as the Salisbury Mall or the unsightly urban sprawl along East Innes between Main and I-85 from overwhelming the town, while at the same time providing retail and dining opportunities such as a Target, Best Buy, etc.”
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“Crime free, parks and arts. Clean, clean, clean ó clean up Innes Street From Long Street to I-85. Get rid of the jay walkers along that stretch ń I had some guy try to open my car door while stopped at Long Street and Innes ó at 3 in the afternoon! More police. More parking in town. More small retail in town. More large retail in the outskirts. Clean up Salisbury Mall, please. I only go there with my husband. I am too scared to go alone. Make Salisbury a place people want to visit … not like someplace else, make Salisbury unique.”

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