Volunteers, businesses honored for community appearance, tree preservation

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 4, 2014

SALISBURY — The city honored some of its most diligent and longest-serving volunteers recently at the annual awards for Community Appearance Commission and Tree Board.
Mayor Paul Woodson presented the 2014 Mayor’s Cup to Barbara Perry. The Mayor’s Cup is given to someone whose dedication and commitment have made a long-lasting impact on Salisbury. Since the first awarded to in 1986 to the Hurley Foundation, the cup has been presented to people including Jim Dunn, Paul Fisher, Edward Norvell, Susan Kluttz and the Robertson family.
Woodson said Perry has initiated and guided more civic projects than he could list.
“She has raised the bar incredibly high for civic volunteers,” he said. “Her creativity, energy and ability to read the political barometer make her extremely effective.”
Perry has a world-class memory for details and a way of convincing people to do things that they never would have volunteered for on their own, all for the good of the community, he said.
Perry served on Salisbury’s first Community Appearance Commission and had a hand in making Hurley Park a reality.
“She may have butted heads with a few city officials to get it done, but that’s ancient history now,” Woodson said. “And I think you’ll all agree it was well worth the effort.”
Perry has served the Salisbury Symphony, Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, Historic Salisbury Foundation, OctoberTour, Rowan Arts Council and more. She leads the Tourism Master Plan Committee, the Public Art Committee and the city’s Housing Advocacy Commission.
“The numerous social and cultural improvements she has nurtured will withstand the test of time,” Woodson said.
Jim Dunn, former Salisbury city councilman, honored Justin Dionne, artistic director for Lee Street Theatre. The James A. Dunn Award is presented to someone who has made an exceptional contribution to the redevelopment of the downtown.
Dionne is a Rowan County native who is taking Salisbury and the downtown arts scene by storm, Dunn said. A 2007 Catawba College theatre arts grad, “this young man not only has grand ideas, but also has the creative and collaborative savvy to make them happen,” he said.
While Dionne was envisioning the new Lee Street Theater, where the awards ceremony was held, he managed to also initiate the Salisbury ghost sign revival effort and serve on the Rowan Arts Council, Downtown Salisbury Inc., Centerpiece Steering Committee and Salisbury Sculpture Show selection committee and support other downtown promotions.
“He did all this while building the Lee Street Theatre group into an award-winning theatre company and transforming this former vacant warehouse into a first-class performing arts venue,” Dunn said. “Justin embodies all the youthful drive and creative energy we are trying to attract and retain for our city.”
Former Mayor Margaret Kluttz presented the Margaret H. Kluttz Neighborhood Improvement Award to Doug Black, an “energetic neighborhood advocate and passionate preservationist.”
Black helped lead the stabilization of the Blackmer House and clean-up and salvage effort at the old Grimes Mill on behalf of Historic Salisbury Foundation.
He also volunteers with the BlockWork neighborhood improvement project.
“Hours upon hours, and days running into months, Doug Black has volunteered his time and resources to preserve, protect and enhance the special historic character of Salisbury,” Kluttz said. “In little more than a decade, Doug Black is leaving his indelible mark as a servant leader – on numerous community boards and committees – always taking to heart a calling to educate, revitalize and advocate for the preservation and enhancement of Salisbury and its neighborhoods.”
Mayor Pro Tem Maggie Blackwell presented the Susan W. Kluttz Sustainable Salisbury Award to the LandTrust for Central North Carolina.
Blackwell said, “sustainability” means “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Few groups address this principle with more sincerity of purpose than the LandTrust for Central North Carolina, she said.
The non-profit was founded in 1995 to help landowners find reasonable ways to preserve notable agricultural, rural and scenic lands and historic sites for future generations. Since its founding, the LandTrust has protected 24,070 acres in the 10-county region it serves, conserving land for clean water, wildlife habitat, farming and connections to nature.
“We are so fortunate to have the main office of the LandTrust located right here in Salisbury,” Blackwell said.
Other awards included:
• Tree Planting: Salisbury Rotary Club for Patriots Memorial and Concourse
• Tree Preservation: LandTrust for preservation of Spencer Woods
• Tree Steward: Rodney Queen
• Best New Construction: Rowan County Farm Bureau at 304 Birdie St.
• Best Building Renovation: Go Burrito at 115 West Fisher St.
• Best Adaptive Re-Use: Emma’s of Salisbury at 209 S. Lee St.
• Best Downtown Façade Improvement: Koco Java at 329 S. Main St.
• Best Site Improvements: Patriots Flag Concourse & Memorial at North Jackson Street and Clubhouse Drive
• Best Signage: Nashville Nights at 127 E. Innes St.
• Special award for Community Pride and Vision: Lee Street Theater at 329 N. Lee St.
Jurors for the Community Appearance Development Awards were Rob Cranford, the director of Uptown Lexington; Amy Crum, a project planner for the city of Winston-Salem and Don McSween, a city arborist for the city of Charlotte.