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Planning starts next week for new farmers market, cultural plaza

SALISBURY — Planning will start next week for a new cultural plaza and farmers market in downtown Salisbury.
The city and partner groups will hold a three-day design workshop to come up with a plan for the facility, currently dubbed the “centerpiece.”
Wednesday, the first day of the design charrette, will offer opportunities for public input. People can drop by the Salisbury Depot between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to observe and contribute or participate in scheduled interviews.
From 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, organizers will hold an informal public reception, also at the depot, to give people a chance to talk with the designers about the project and the possible uses for the space.
During the reception from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Aaron Pohl Zaretsky, principal of Public Market Development Inc., will make a presentation on the benefits of public markets to communities.
As a public market director and consultant, Zaretsky has experience across the country, including managing Pike Place Market in Seattle.
More recently, as founding executive director of Asheville’s Grove Arcade Public Market, Zaretsky was responsible for redevelopment of the 269,000-square-foot building into a $30 million public market and mixed-use development.
Salisbury and partner groups last year received a $25,000 National Endowment of the Arts grant for the design of a multipurpose cultural plaza and farmers market in the 200 block of North Lee Street, in the lot currently used for police parking.
Downtown Salisbury Inc. and the Tourism Development Authority provided the $25,000 match for the grant, which totals $50,000.
The temporary name for the project came from the recently adopted tourism master plan, which describes a forum for gatherings, arts and culture and a way to link people with farmers and growers.
The grant includes funding for a design workshop or charrette, where designers will work on teams to develop various concepts. Ideally, each of the design teams will include architects, landscape architects, artists, musicians, theater professionals, farmers market vendors, business people and other community stakeholders.
The centerpiece partnership includes the city, DSI, tourism, Lee Street Theatre, the Rowan Arts Council, Rowan Investment and Wells Fargo Community Foundation, which gave $100,000 for the project.
So far, the partners have raised $250,000 for the new facility, including $25,000 set aside annually for five years from the Salisbury hotel room tax.
The $50,000 National Endowment of the Arts grant is expected to pay for the planning process, including design, engineering and architect fees. Since the city owns the land, there is no acquisition cost.
Everyone is invited to take a brief survey about their preferences for the space by going to www.salisburync.gov or www.surveymonkey.com/s/centerpiecesurvey .
People who want to become involved in the centerpiece project should call contact Diana Moghrabi in the Community Planning Services office at 704-638-5242 or dmogh@salisburync.gov .

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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