Livingstone College, Historic Salisbury Foundation work together to revitalize houses in West End

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 5, 2016

By Laurie Willis

Livingstone College News Service

SALISBURY – Six houses on West Monroe Street in Salisbury’s West End neighborhood will undergo a major revitalization now that Livingstone College and Historic Salisbury Foundation, Inc. have reached a Memorandum of Agreement.

The properties are located on West Monroe Street, directly across from the college. They are all owned by Livingstone, are vacant and are in need of extensive repairs. Additionally, all of them except two are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and in the Livingstone College Local Historic District.

Revitalization of the six properties will dramatically improve the West End neighborhood economically and socially while making the houses habitable and increasing their property values.

The renovation project will be done in phases – one property at a time – and will commence with the “Lynch-Nicholson” house at 624 W. Monroe St., considered historically important to the community because of its unique and iconic late 1890s design.

“Our agreement with Historic Salisbury Foundation to renovate six of our properties on West Monroe Street demonstrates our commitment to being good public stewards in the West End neighborhood,” said Livingstone President Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins, Sr. “For years, we have studied ways to generate the necessary funds to renovate the properties to ensure they enhance the neighborhood and are put to good use.

“Additionally, I and other Livingstone administrators have hosted a series of breakfast meetings with West End residents to discuss the houses and other common interests – all designed to improve conditions in the West End,” Jenkins continued. “Now that we have collaboration with HSF, we have the impetus to move more directly toward revitalization of a section of Monroe Street. I am anxious for the revitalization to commence, and I am grateful to HSF officials for working with the college on this very important endeavor.”

According to the Memorandum of Agreement, Historic Salisbury Foundation will stabilize, weatherproof and dramatically improve the exterior of the property at 624 W. Monroe St., with work that respects the historic covenants already in place. HSF estimates the work at 624 W. Monroe St. to cost over $30,000 and has $20,000 in grant funds available to begin the work. Completion is estimated to take seven months.

Agreement stipulations say Livingstone will combine its resources with HSF’s $20,000 to bring the interior of the Lynch-Nicholson property to full functionality as a residence or supporting academic structure. Work done by the college will be completed within one year, after which time Livingstone will find a suitable use for the property.

Additionally, Livingstone agrees to maintain the property at 624 W. Monroe St. free from code violations and with an appealing exterior for 25 years from the date HSF completes work, and the college agrees it will not demolish the structure during the 25-year time frame.

“Historic Salisbury Foundation is delighted with this historic opportunity. We are very excited about being part of this team that’s doing important work not only to save the old “Faculty Row” houses but also contributing to the overall improvement of the West End of our community,” said Susan G. Sides, president of HSF. “We are also very appreciative of The Blanche and Julian Robertson Family Foundation for their generous support and collaboration, which has enabled this initiative to begin.”

The college and Historic Salisbury Foundation have also agreed to collaborate on other creative efforts that may improve conditions in the West End, including clean-up days and attempts to find other funding sources.