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City wants more retail beyond downtown

SALISBURY — At their strategic planning retreat today, City Council members talked about hiring a retail recruiter to lure businesses and new jobs to areas beyond downtown.
Downtown Salisbury Inc. brings businesses to the heart of the city, and RowanWorks Economic Development recruits industry to Rowan County. But Salisbury suffers a “doughnut effect,” city leaders said.
While the city’s core is strong — downtown has a 95 percent occupancy rate — areas between the downtown and city limits do not have an economic development advocate, leaders said.
“We need to let people know throughout the state that we’ll do whatever necessary to get you into one of our buildings,”Mayor Paul Woodson.
The city no longer can involuntarily annex neighborhoods outside the city limits to increase the tax base.
“We need a discussion about how we do economic development and tax-base increase in the new reality where our boundaries are fixed,” Councilman Brian Miller said.
Considering the success of Downtown Salisbury Inc., Miller said City Council should consider putting more resources into the organization and expanding its target area.
Read more in Friday’s Post.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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