Church, county and city resolve parking problem
By Jessie Burchette
A three-way deal between the county, the city of Salisbury and a downtown church will create badly needed parking spaces near the Rowan County Justice Center.
Soldiers Memorial AME Zion Church, which is adjacent to the courthouse parking lot, will provide undeveloped land and share in the cost.
County Manager Bill Cowan recently outlined the plan to the Rowan County Board of Commissioners.
Dr. Grant Harrison Jr., the new pastor of the church, met with county and city officials starting in November to discuss and work out details.
Under the arrangement, the city, county and church will share the cost of developing the parking lot.
The county will get a long term lease on the property.
During the week, the lot will be used for courthouse related parking. At other times, it will be used for church parking.
The church already had a design for the parking area and was looking for cost estimates.
Cowan told the commissioners that once the cost figures are in and the various boards approve the project, it could be done very quickly.
Cost figures or the number of parking spaces to be created were not immediately available.
Officials also pointed out that the city has allowed creation of two handicapped parking spaces on Liberty Street near the side entrance to the Justice Center, which has become the main entrance.
Previously, the only handicapped spaces were on Main Street near the entrances that are no longer open.
Commissioners, including Vice Chairman Chad Mitchell, said the front doors of the courthouse need to be open.
The doors have been closed since the sheriff’s department implemented a security screening program.
Officials have said previously it would take additional personnel and equipment to reopen the front doors.