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City Council considers use of federal funding

Salisbury City Council had a relatively quick meeting Wednesday after postponing Tuesday’s meeting due to the winter storm.

After voting to hire a new city manager, Lane Bailey, council held a public hearing regarding federal funds in the form of Community Development Block Grants and HOME funds.

The HOME funds go toward building, buying and rehabilitating affordable housing for rent or home ownership. The Community Development Block Grants go toward alleviating blight in impoverished communities. Some of the things the CDBG funds can be used for include construction of affordable housing, anti-poverty programs and infrastructure development.

City Planning Director Janet Gapen said city staff met with residents and held focus groups in an effort to find out how the funds should be prioritized. Using the funds for housing repairs and rehabilitation was the main thing the city heard from residents, she said. And the areas of focus will include the West End, Park Avenue and East End neighborhoods.

Council also heard from people involved with organizations, like the Community Care Clinic and Rowan Helping Ministries, that rely on the funds.

Council didn’t take any action after the hearing. The city doesn’t yet know how much money it will receive. Council will hear presentation on the budget for the funds in April.

Last year, the city received $420,000.

In other business Wednesday, council:

• Approved a $580 bonus for each month that John Sofley served as interim city manager. Sofley took the interim role in mid-June of last year. It’s been eight or nine months, depending on how the city counts, so the total bonus is either $4,640 or $5,220.

“I definitely think you’ve earned it,” Mayor Woodson told Sofley.

“Thank you for your service,” Councilman William Kennedy said.

• Approved permits for the demolition of three buildings on property along North Main Street where the school system’s new central office will be built. The properties are: the building at 516 N. Main St. that was the longtime home for Shulenburger Surveying Co., another building at 504 N. Main commonly known as the “flower shop” and a building that faces West Cemetery Street.

Council had to approve the permits since the buildings are all inside the city’s historic district. The Historic Salisbury Foundation was hoping someone would pay to have the Shulenburger home relocated, but no one has offered to do it.
• Approved a request for the temporary closure of the eastbound lane of traffic, street parking and sidewalk for approximately 70 feet in the 100 block of West Liberty Street through March 13. The roof on the Rowan County Courthouse is being replaced and the construction company doing the work needs to put a crane and a dumpster in the street.
• Adopted an ordinance to reduce the speed limit in the Olde Salisbury neighborhood off Old Concord Road from 35 mph to 25 mph. The affected streets are Chantilly Lane, Dewberry Place, Darby Place and Terra Court. The city received a petition from residents of the neighborhood asking the speed limit to be lowered.• Adopted an ordinance to restrict parking anytime except Sundays along a portion of the south side of the 100 block of Ridge Avenue.The request came from the city’s transit division and will allow city buses to safely make the right-hand turn off South Fulton Street onto Ridge Avenue. The buses cannot make the turn safely without using the existing parking area, according to the request. The restricted area would start where Ridge Avenue meets South Fulton Street and extend 69 feet west of Fulton Street.

The total number of parking spaces affected is just shy of three.

• Designated Emerald Avenue as a one-way street from 12 p.m. May 22 until 4 p.m. May 23, and from 12 p.m.  Oct. 9 until 4 p.m. Oct. 10  for a charity yard sale.

The meeting’s agenda had council going into closed session to consult with an attorney, but council did not go into closed session.

Contact Reporter David Purtell at 704-797-4264.

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