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David Purtell column: Welcome to 2015

The new year is a upon us and that means the chance to look ahead to what’s in store for 2015.

And there’s plenty ahead for Salisbury and the rest of Rowan County this year.

Downtown Salisbury has a lot going on. New Sarum Brewery is expanding into a microbrewery. The new location will be in the old Tractor Building on North Lee Street and could open as early as this summer.

Nothing beats a good craft beer.

Sweet Meadow Cafe will reopen soon in its new location on North Main Street in the Bernhardt building. The building is currently under renovation and will house the cafe, which will have more space than its former location on West Innes Street. Commercial space will fill the rest of the ground floor and apartments will be on the second level.

Downtown Salisbury Inc. is continuing to work to bring new life to the Empire Hotel and plans to ramp up its effort again in 2015 by issuing a Request for Proposals to lure potential developers.

A Charlotte-based developer also continues to search for the right combination of people to restore the once-iconic hotel on the 200 block of S. Main Street.

Salisbury City Council elections are this year. All five council seats will be up for grabs. The direction of the city could take a turn by year’s end depending on who runs and who gets elected.

Three new faces joined the county Board of Commissioners in December. The new board has pledged to work with the municipalities in the county to move forward and attract good jobs to the area.

Rowan County will have a new industry this year. California-based Agility Fuel Systems announced in December that it will build its regional headquarters in the Summit Corporate Center. The company makes natural-gas fuel systems for large transport vehicles.

More jobs in the county means more people will spend money in the county.

And they can spend it at the new retail complex going in the Summit Center. Plans call for it to have a mix of stores and restaurants. A Hobby Lobby and a Dick’s Sporting Goods will be the anchor stores.

Stores could open there by the end of the year.

All of the towns in the county have approved the master plan for the portion of the Carolina Thread Trail planned for Rowan County. The Thread Trail connects several counties in the Piedmont via hiking, biking and walking trails.

The one governing body that hasn’t approved the trail is the county Board of Commissioners, but the trail’s parent organization hopes to get the plan approved this year from the commissioners.

There’s a lot to like about 2015 in Rowan County. And, in case you missed it at the end of 2014, Woodleaf plans to have the Tomato Drop again to welcome 2016.

Contact business reporter David Purtell at 704-797-4264 or david.purtell@salisburypost.com.

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