Published 12:00 am Friday, May 10, 2013

Salisbury Mayor Paul Woodson removed an item from the City Council agenda to prevent the meeting from going too long, he said. He moved a public hearing on the city’s Historic Preservation Master Plan to the next City Council meeting, May 21.
More than 20 people apparently came to Tuesday’s meeting for the hearing, because they left after Woodson made the announcement. Many wore stickers in support of revitalizing the Chestnut Hill neighborhood.
Woodson apologized profusely and promised to hold the public hearing early in the meeting on May 21. Even without the public hearing, the meeting ran for more than two and a half hours.
• City Council awarded a $10,825 grant to the Butler Group, which owns the Hydraulic Depot, Salisbury Equipment Repair and Custom Design, all housed in the former W.A. Brown building on South Main Street.
A family business, Butler Group plans to expand into 6,000 square feet of additional space at the plant that has been vacant for years. Some of the space has not been used since the building was constructed in 1929, owner Phil Butler said.
Butler plans to open a new business division, the Tool Rental Depot, and expand from 12 employees to 16, he said.
Renovation of the additional space is estimated to cost $43,304.
As part of the city’s Industrial Revitalization Building Program to encourage the reuse of vacant properties, the Economic Development Commission requested a grant on behalf of the company to cover 25 percent of renovation costs.
Since creating the grant program, the city has invested about $60,000 in three projects that resulted in $2 million in real estate activity and renovation of 100,000 square feet of vacant space, EDC Executive Director Robert Van Geons said.
• City Council approved a request by Lee Street Theater, under construction at 329 N. Lee St., for a special use permit to sell beer and wine, as well as a request by J&J Tire and Auto Center at 401 Bringle Ferry Road for a special use permit to allow body work and major repairs on vehicles.
• The speed limit on Mocksville Avenue between Mahaley Avenue and Grove Street is now 25 mph. City Council lowered the limit after every property owner along this section of road signed a petition asking for the change.
• The public can comment May 21 on a proposed lease purchase resolution for financing telecommunications capital improvements.
The city is preparing to upgrade its 800 Mhz trunking system infrastructure, which is at the end of its lifecycle. The city also will upgrade and replace radios that are more than 20 years old.
If approved, the city would issue about $4 million in debt to pay for the improvements.
• Councilwoman Maggie Blackwell announced Overton Elementary School’s Mini Funk Factory Band is accepting applications. The band meets in the City Park facility.
• Police Chief Rory Collins said the Brick Street Live concert series has moved to Friday nights to coincide with downtown Night Out events. The concerts this year will be held at Kerr and North Lee streets, which Councilman Pete Kennedy said will eliminate a problem when the concerts were held on Fisher Street. Some customers had a hard time getting to Fisher Street restaurants, Kennedy said.
• City staff will consider moving the basketball court at a public housing complex on Brenner Avenue to a safer location. A child followed a stray basketball onto Brenner Avenue recently and was almost hit by a car, Kennedy said.
• Salisbury Parks and Recreation will host the new “Movies in the Park” event May 31 at City Park. Pre-movie activities begin at 8 p.m. “Brave” will begin around 8:45 p.m. Bring a blanket or chair to the free event.
• Covenant Community Connection will host the 10th Annual Let’s Get Connected Day from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Saturday at the Frank B. Tadlock South Rowan Library. The event marks the dedication of the seventh peace pole in Rowan County.
• Salisbury Parks and Recreation will host the 7th annual Middle School Prom on Saturday at the Salisbury Civic Center located at 315 S. Martin Luther King Ave. from 6 to 10 p.m. Tickets are on sale at the Civic Center. Call 704-638-5275 for more information.