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City scheduled to begin purchase of Bell Tower Green Park property

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — City council members will face a busy night Tuesday — when they are scheduled to appropriate $700,000 from the current budget to purchase the Bell Tower Green Park property and receive an update on a program intended to improve housing conditions and stabilize neighborhoods.

The first payment of $350,000 for the Bell Tower Green property will occur immediately upon the council’s approval. The second half will be paid upon completion of the park amenities. Half of those funds will be appropriated from the city’s fund balance, while the remaining half will be paid for through PARTF funds. PARTF is listed in the city’s budget as a miscellaneous state grant.

The meeting will be held virtually at 6 p.m. The meeting will be streamed live at salisburync.gov/webcast and on both the city’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. Anyone who wishes to speak during the public comment portion of the meeting can do so by contacting City Clerk Kelly Baker at kbake@salisburync.gov or 704-638-5233. Sign-up must occur by 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

City council members will also receive an update on the impact from the West End Housing Rehabilitation Program that was established in 2019 to improve housing conditions and stabilize neighborhoods.

The program the city passed in 2019 was piloted in the West End. The purpose of the program was to revitalize single-family housing and provide exterior home repairs on owner-occupied and rental property in the city. Financial assistance is provided in the form of a forgivable, deferred loan.

Over the span of two and a half years, the city reports 31 substantial exterior rehabilitations in neighborhoods under the management of the Salisbury Community Development Corporation. Of those, 19 homes were rehabilitated in fiscal year 2018-19, 10 homes in 2019-20 and four homes in 2020-21, which totals $612,538 in improvements.

Another item on the city council’s busy agenda includes a public hearing regarding the city’s 2019-2020 consolidated annual performance and evaluation report, or CAPER, on the use of Community Development Block Grant funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

As a condition of receiving these federal funds, the city is required each year to formulate the report that outlines how closely the program outcomes aligned with the goals and objectives previously set. During the 2019-2020 fiscal year, the city received $320,017 in federal Community Development Block Grant funds as well as with $30,000 from the program’s income.

The city’s housing planner, Candace Edwards, will present the findings to the council before opening for a public hearing.

Additionally, city council members will also receive an update on the Forward 2040 Steering Committee’s progress to create vision statements and future plans for community engagement.

Also at the meeting:

• Council members will consider adopting selection criteria for the Salisbury Paul Bruhn Grant program following a presentation from Salisbury Senior Planner Catherine Garner. The city received this year a $543,185 grant from the National Park Services’ Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grant program in order to create its own grant program for the rehabilitation of commercial buildings in the Salisbury Historic District.

• City council members will adopt several 2020-21 fiscal year budget ordinances at Tuesday’s meeting. One includes appropriating a $500,000 brownfield grant for the environmental cleanup of the former Kesler Mill site.

Additionally, $177,390 is to be appropriated from the stormwater fund balance. City manager Lane Bailey will be authorized to execute an agreement with Kemp Sigmon Construction Co, Inc., for a unit-based contract in the amount of $533,859 for construction of the McCoy Road Culvert Replacement project. The city included $356,459 of that cost in the budget, but appropriation from the stormwater fund balance is needed to complete the project.

• Council members will authorize the sale of parcel 025-013, located in the 1000 block of Barbour Street, in the amount of $1,200. The approval is subject to concurrence from the Rowan County Board of Commissioners. The profit will be split between the city and the county.

• Council members will vote to authorize the city manager to execute a $109,782 contract with Charles R. Underwood, Inc. for construction of the Coley Road Sanitary Sewer Lift Station upgrades. This project will not have an impact on the 2020-21 fiscal year budget as it was already included when the budget was passed.

The other two bidding companies for this project include Brushy Mountain Builders, which offered $129,000 for the project, and James E. Harris Construction, which offered $116,264.

• Council members will also vote to authorize the city manager to execute an $89,303 contract with SEPI for construction inspection of the Grants Creek low-water pedestrian bridge that connects Meadowbrook to the north side of the creek at Catawba College.

• Council members will consider approving a right-of-way use permit for the travel lane in the 100 block of South Lee Street and the parking lane in the 200 E. Innes St. for intermittent single closures from Nov. 18 to Dec. 6 and closures of both rights-of-way from Dec. 7 to Jan. 17 due to construction at 201 E. Innes St.

• City council members will consider adopting a resolution to declare its intent to close a portion of an alley located in the 800 block of West Cemetery Street and set a public hearing for Jan. 5.

• City council members will consider three ordinances that would amend the city code. Those ordinances include reducing the speed limit on Old Plank Road as well as all streets in The Gables subdivision to 25 mph. Another ordinance, if approved, would designate the portion of West Henderson Street located between Confederate Avenue to a point 130 feet east of Mocksville Avenue as a one-way street.

• Council members will award Officer Christopher Schenk his sidearm and badge in recognition of his retirement from the Salisbury Police Department on Nov. 1.

• Council members will approve the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan, which has been reviewed and included in the North Carolina Department of Transportation Integrated Mobility Division statewide plan.

• The mayor will proclaim Nov. 20 the “Transgender Day of Remembrance,” and will declare Nov. 20 to Dec. 20 “Survivors of Homicide Victims Awareness Month.”

Additionally, the Community Planning Services Department will host a virtual kick-off meeting on Thursday at 6 p.m. for neighbors and interested parties to learn more about the Kesler Mill Brownfield Cleanup Project. A link to register for the Zoom meeting can be found by visiting www.salisburync.gov/KeslerMill.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

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