• 73°

10 to watch: Jason Walser: ‘We have a very deep bench’ in Rowan

SALISBURY — As he settles into his new position as executive director of the Blanche and Julian Robertson Family Foundation, Jason Walser says the high-profile nonprofit organization will focus on three major areas in 2018.

As always, the foundation and its board will continue to assist many community projects through its grant process. Since its founding in 1997, the Robertson Foundation has given away more than $34 million to local nonprofit groups and governments.

The foundation also will maintain its keen interest in the development of Bell Tower Green, the name given to a downtown park planned for the the city square bounded by West Innes, South Church, West Fisher and South Jackson streets.

In the months to come, asphalt parking lots will be removed, and the park building process will start, overseen by a separate entity called Bell Tower Green Inc., of which Walser is a member.

“It may take several years before everything is in place, but that will be moving into fast motion in the very near future,” Walser said.

The foundation’s third area of focus will be trying to bring improvements to the West End. The foundation already has announced funding for a new teen center at Miller Recreation Center. It also will be looking at housing initiatives and other quality-of-life programs for the West End, Walser said.

Walser is a former executive director of the LandTrust for Central North Carolina.

Jason Walser

Age: 46

Job title: Executive director, the Blanche and Julian Robertson Family Foundation

Hometown: Salisbury

Birthplace: Statesville

What’s your favorite book? “Stand Up That Mountain” by Jay E. Leutze. “It is a wonderful conglomeration of relationships, community and sustainability. And it is set in Avery County.”

Who should play you in a movie? “I want to say Colin Firth, because my wife thinks he is ‘a really good actor.’ But I think that most of my friends would say that Jason Alexander would be the more appropriate answer.”

What would you want for your last meal? “Whatever Chef Santos has as a special that night.”

What’s your biggest personal challenge in the year ahead? Finding funds for the West End neighborhood of Salisbury and contributing to elevating public education in Rowan County and North Carolina.

What’s your biggest hope or aspiration for 2018? To be part of ensuring that the Bell Tower Green park becomes a reality in 2018/2019.

Who will you be watching in 2018? Mayor Al Heggins. “I think she has tremendous potential to help Salisbury and Rowan County move forward.”

What’s your reaction to being named one of the “10 To Watch”? “Unworthy. I could name 10 to 20 people in 20 seconds who are more worthy of this distinction than I. But I am humbled as well. I believe that ‘it takes as village,’ and we have a pretty remarkable village here in Rowan County. We have a very deep bench and should be grateful for that.”


Ask Us

Ask Us: What happened to work on South Fulton Street home?


Blotter: Woman says she was shot in hand on Lincolnton Road


Rowan Sheriff’s Office charges Salisbury man with operating illegal gambling business


Blotter: Rockwell man arrested on felony drug, breaking and entering charges


Rep. Amber Baker discusses legislative session during Rowan Democrats breakfast meeting


Thousands of locals, out-of-towners gather for a groovy time at annual Hippie Fest


N.C. Zoo ready for expansion if lawmakers OK funding


RSS budgeting for tens of millions in federal COVID-19 relief funding

East Spencer

‘Back in full swing’ for the spring: East Spencer community gathers for food, fun and fellowship at Spring Fest


Rowan native Lingle among those honored with NC Military Veterans Hall of Fame induction


Former pro baseball player, Tar Heel standout Russ Adams finds new career with Trident Insured


Profoundly gifted: Salisbury boy finishing high school, associates degree at 12


Cheerwine Festival will stick to Main Street, stay away from new park in September


Celebrating Rowan County’s early cabinetmakers


Service Above Self announces youth challenge winners


Economic Development Commission creates search tool for people seeking Rowan County jobs


Amy-Lynn Albertson: Arts and Ag Farm Tour set for June 5

High School

High school baseball: Mustangs top Falcons on strength of hurlers


Biz Roundup: Application process now open for Rowan Chamber’s 29th Leadership Rowan class


Keith Mitchell leads McIlroy, Woodland by 2 at Quail Hollow


States scale back vaccine orders as interest in shots wanes


Major US pipeline halts operations after ransomware attack


NC budget dance slowed as GOP leaders differ on bottom line


Judge limits footage that family can see of deputy shooting