Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 12, 2013
SALISBURY — More than 40 people recently attended the first neighborhood meeting of the Chestnut Hill area held in the Rhyne Building at Stallings Memorial Baptist Church on South Main Street.
The meeting, sponsored by the Chestnut Hill Revitalization committee, was opened by Edward Clement with a brief review of the three action areas of the task force:
• Gain recognition and public support as a viable and important single family neighborhood.
• Take immediate steps to have the vacant houses saved, rehabilitated and lived in.
• Bring residents together.
Clement cited substantial progress in all three areas since the task force was started only six weeks ago and mentioned the following: attendance by the neighborhood at the last two City Council meetings; the control and listing for resale of three key vacant properties by Historic Salisbury Foundation (812 S. Jackson St. $15,000; 814 S. Jackson St., $17,000; and 820 S. Jackson St., $19,000); and the bringing together of the neighborhood for several meetings; a plan for a neighborhood watch program; and the pursuit of the idea for a historic district.
Susan Sides of Historic Salisbury Foundation gave the background on Chestnut Hill, including brief histories of all four churches — Coburn Memorial United Methodist Church, Haven Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and Stallings Memorial Baptist Church.
She also spoke on the history of S.R. Harrison’s house, “Chestnut Hill,” and the early subdividing of his property which occurred in 1892.
Father Rick Williams, vicar of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, spoke of the sense of community that had existed in Chestnut Hill in the past, with everyone helping each other and with fellowship among the residents. He said this effort with everyone’s assistance can bring back this important sense of community and help lift the neighborhood and churches of the area.
Mary James, a leader of the West Square Historic District, told the gathering of the advantages of a neighborhood association and encouraged the group to take this direction now for the neighborhood.
Doug Black, president of Historic Salisbury Foundation, gave a brief review of the successful neighborhood watch program that he initiated in Fulton Heights Historic District and offered his counsel to start this program for Chestnut Hill.
Paula Bohland, executive director of the Center for Faith and the Arts, which is headquartered in Chestnut Hill at 207 West Harrison St., spoke of the summer arts academy for children and youth — Wake Up Leonardo! — and invited all to a party at the center on June 29 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
The charter meeting of the Chestnut Hill Neighborhood Association will be at Coburn Memorial Methodist Church at 7 p.m. June 25.
At this meeting, an initial board will be elected. Clement noted this will be a working board and will have goals with priorities for each board member. He urged all to attend and bring at least one other person. He also indicated this meeting would be an opportunity for everyone to become a charter member of this new neighborhood association, which can lead Chestnut Hill to a brighter future.
The group thanked Joyce Heilig for a donation to offset some of the early costs and Pastor Bryan and Polly and Phillip Carlton of Stallings Memorial Baptist Church for being hosts at this important meeting.