Published 12:00 am Monday, January 13, 2014

SALISBURY — Downtown Salisbury Inc. will host weekly gatherings where people can voice concerns and share ideas.
Called Downtown Dialogue, the meeting will be held from 8 to 9 a.m. every Thursday, starting this week. Gritz Cafe at 121 E. Innes St. will host the first gathering.
The meetings are meant to “energize connections with stakeholders,” according to a Downtown Salisbury Inc. press release.
“Since the departure of previous Executive Director Randy Hemann, there has not always been a defined place for downtown stakeholders to have their voice heard,” the release said.
Downtown Salisbury has struggled since Hemann’s departure, scrapping the search for a new executive director last month when the board could not come to a consensus on either finalist. The board is expected to launch a new search soon.
Board President Mark Lewis recently acknowledged that many business owners felt as though downtown events have lost touch with their original purpose — to increase sales — and there was no formal feedback process. In a memo to merchants, Lewis said the board “realizes that we have some fences to mend and work to do getting our promotional activities once again centered on our downtown merchants.”
Anyone may attend Downtown Dialogue.
“The weekly gathering will hopefully pave the way for innovative ideas to be shared, concerns to be voiced, new and existing relationships to be honored, and celebrate the sense of community amongst downtown stakeholders,” the press release said.
Interim DSI Director Paula Bohland said she looks forward to the discussions and considers the gatherings a perfect opportunity to celebrate accomplishments and rekindle the community’s vision.
Downtown Salisbury will not host a meeting on Jan. 30 because staff will be out of town attending the 2014 North Carolina Main Street Conference in New Bern.