Leda Belk says Salisbury needs a broader, county-focused perspective

Published 12:35 am Thursday, August 24, 2017


SALISBURY — When Leda Belk served on the Rowan County Board of Commissioners from 2000 to 2004, the county was growing.

“We had, like, 17 economic development projects going,” Belk said. “We were expanding. We were building schools. Things were good. And the community was pulling together and working together.”

But when the 2007 financial crisis hit, Salisbury “soured,” she said.

“We turned more inward, looking after self instead of partnering and pulling each other up. And we’ve become stagnant,” Belk said. “Salisbury is only as strong as every other community in the county. And the county is only as strong as the smaller municipalities. So if we don’t pull together, grow together and help each other, it’s not going to work long-term.”

That’s why, 13 years after leaving the political arena, Belk is running for another elected office: a seat on the  Salisbury City Council.

“I know we have a lot of smart people in this community, and I don’t think we’re listening to people. I don’t think that we’re sitting at the different boards throughout the region to find out what growth is coming, what support industry we can bring in,” Belk said. “How do we encourage these people to come in? How do we encourage business beyond minimum wage?”

Belk also said that if Salisbury wants to attract new businesses, it needs to clean its streets and sidewalks.

“Every time you pull off an expressway, it needs to be the prettiest intersection in town. Not filled with cigarette butts. Not filled with trash in the curbs. It needs to be clean,” Belk said. “It needs to say, ‘Welcome, this is a great place for you to come open a business.’”

Belk, 70, is a retired Charlotte deputy sheriff and currently teaches driver’s education at Salisbury High School.

Contact Jessica Coates at 704-797-4222.