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Commissioners to send Gov. Cooper a request to ‘reopen’ local economy

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Rowan County commissioners voted Monday to submit a letter to Gov. Roy Cooper that requests the ability for county leaders to decide how and when to “reopen” the community.

The letter specifically requests the governor allow commissioners, Rowan County Health Department, Emergency Services, leaders from Novant Health and the Salisbury VA, the local Chamber of Commerce and other leaders to decide how to “reopen,” “Based on our specific data, experience and circumstances.”

“Governor Cooper, we know our community and we want what’s best for our community,” the letter stated. “We are working night and day to provide for the health and safety of our citizens. But we also fully understand that a community’s health and its economy are inseparable.”

The letter references significant outbreaks in the county in local congregate living facilities, which accounted for 210 of the total 668 positive cases as of Monday. It then credits the state and local health departments with “working diligently” with the congregate care facilities, including adding a local congregate care specialist position implemented by the health department.

“While reopening our county certainly comes with risk, keeping many of our businesses in lockdown means keeping many of our people unemployed and being unemployed also presents our citizens and our community with considerable health risks,” the letter stated.

The letter also listed other COVID-19 and economic recovery efforts, including six testing sites and the formation of an Economic Recovery Task Force.

Park concession stand

County commissioners also approved a bid from Salcoa Construction to construct a new concession stand at Dan Nicholas Park. After seven bids, the county agreed to Salcoa Construction’s total bid of $886,800, which includes options for various types of roofs and foundations.

Additionally, the project requires an amendment to the budget. Commissioners approved appropriating $45,000 from the fund balance to fund the construction. In total, donations to the park account for $195,000 of the funding for the project.

Also at the meeting:

  • The Rowan Economic Development Commission, Rowan Chamber of Commerce and the Rowan Tourism Development Authority provided an update from the Economic Recovery Task Force, which was formed by county leaders in mid-May to assist the community in its “reopening” transition. The EDC has continued its outreach to companies interested in relocating to the county; Tourism has begun marketing consumers to eat and visit the county; and the chamber has maintained communication with businesses and has provided resources regarding financial relief options.
  • A public hearing for Z 01-20 was scheduled for June 15. Property owners Mark and Lorin Oden are petitioning to rezone their 8.36-acre tract from a “Commercial, Business, Industrial with a Conditional District (CBI-CD)” to “Rural Agriculture (RA).” The  property in the 8600 block of Bringle Ferry Road was approved in 2000 to accommodate a pier and dock construction business.
  • Commissioners approved a notice of intent from the Salisbury-Rowan Community Action Agency, Inc., to apply for the Community Service Block Grant CARES NC Act Supplemental Funding for 2020-22 for COVID-19 response and recovery efforts. The total amount of funding to be requested is $701,028, with $334,229 allocated to Rowan County. The agency intends to use the funds for families whose economic circumstances have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

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