• 52°

Streets alive with children

SALISBURY — It’s not every day you see kids playing in the middle of North Main Street.
But hula hoops, sidewalk chalk and even a gigantic checkerboard were on hand for the Salisbury Streets Alive event.
From 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, several blocks of downtown streets were closed to traffic so that kids and cyclists could play, and others could visit.
Mollie Ruf, event coordinator with Downtown Salisbury Inc., said this month’s first Friday event was an attempt at bringing the “Open Streets” movement to the city.
Ruf said Eric Phillips, owner of Skinny Wheels Bike Shop, came up with the concept based on a movement that’s spreading elsewhere in the U.S.
It’s a simple idea: close off neighborhood or city streets so people can enjoy the open space. Picnics and games are common.
“The idea is to transform a street, any street, into an open space where people can do what they’re doing now,” Phillips said, gesturing out to the streets where small groups of two or three people were trying out activities or talking.
Phillips said the idea is right for Rowan County, but organizers’ decision to have the event on July 4 affected turnout.
“That’s the choice that we had, so we ran with it,” Phillips said.
“It’s the first one of these … We’ll work on publicizing this, and having these on a more consistent basis,” Phillips said.
As the sun started going down, around 7 p.m., things picked up.
Kids and grown­ups alike rode bikes around downtown streets.
Vendors sold food, while nearby, exercise and fitness demonstrations were held.
On West Fisher Street, across from the downtown mural that was recently targeted by a vandal, a temporary, mobile graffiti wall was put up in the middle of the roadway.
Wearing masks to protect them from paint fumes, kids got a chance to spray paint their names and other artistic designs onto the wall.
“They’re having fun. Look at them, you can tell,” said Casey Graham, as her younger sisters Chy’na, Clear and Cherish Wesley took their turn.
Grown­ups got into the act, picking up hula hoops and trying out the giant checkers set Crystal Gale just decided to dance to the music. “I’m hula hoop impaired,” she joked.
Darrell Scoggins challenged his girlfriend’s daughter, Gracie Lineberger, to a game of checkers.
“We’ve had some bubbles and done some hula hooping,” said Scoggins, who is a member of Crossfit Rowan and found out about Salisbury Streets Alive through them.
“It’s a great idea. A good time for the public to come out and enjoy downtown Salisbury,” Scoggins said.
A little farther down the road, Carrie McNeely watched as her daughter, Reese, nine months old, tried to figure out sidewalk chalk.
McNeely said she’d heard about the event on Facebook.
Her two sons and husband played nearby, using a giant wand to blow a small army of soap bubbles.
While the turnout wasn’t what organizers hoped, Phillips said there’s definite potential in “Open Streets” events.
Phillips said one idea would be to hold these events on Sunday afternoons, when street closures wouldn’t impact downtown merchants.
Or, he said, a similar event could be held in different neighborhoods, cities or towns.
“You could do one in Salisbury, one in China Grove, one in Faith,” Phillips said.
“This really about the community, giving them an outlet to have fun,” Ruf said.
Contact Hugh Fisher via the editor’s desk at 704­-797-­4244.

Comments

Comments closed.

News

Catawba College hosts three in-person commencement ceremonies

Local

With high case loads causing numerous staff departures, Child Protective Services seeks more positions

Education

Livingstone College graduates celebrate ‘crossing the finish line’ during commencement celebration

Coronavirus

Rowan sees 4 new COVID-19 deaths as mask mandate lifted, vaccines administered continue decline

Local

Spencer is latest town updating its development ordinance

Local

Salisbury native Kristy Woodson Harvey makes NY Times bestseller list

Local

Board of Commissioners will convene for third time in May

Business

Biz Roundup: Salisbury, Kannapolis among recipients of Region of Excellence Awards

Local

Cheerleading team competes at Disney

Education

Salisbury High to celebrate football, swimming champions with parade

High School

High school girls soccer: Isley, Webb lead all-county team

Local

Spencer awarded $10,000 to develop trails at Stanback Forest

Books

‘Tails and Tales’ coming to library this summer

Local

Public Records: March Deeds

Entertainment

Salisbury Symphony’s ‘Return to the Concert Hall’ available May 24-31

Coronavirus

Salisbury teen becomes one of first in age group to receive COVID-19 vaccine

Business

Down Goat: Local farm and creamery poised to add goat yoga, artisan goat cheese to offerings

Local

Pandemic’s impact, uncertainty of transit funding prompt request to eliminate Rowan Express service

Lifestyle

New Waterworks’ exhibit opens June 1

High School

High school football: Walsh accepts the South football challenge

Lifestyle

Price of Freedom Museum gets donated landscape project

Lifestyle

Rowan Museum will have Upscale Yard Sale Saturday

Business

Seventh dragon boat festival set for July 24; deadline for sponsorships is May 28

Nation/World

‘Shocking and horrifying’: Israel destroys AP office in Gaza