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City to hear priorities for 2021 Federal Action Plan, approve use of $200,000 HUD grant

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — City council members today will consider its 2021 Federal Action Plan and formally approve a plan to use a $200,221 Community Development Block Grant for public services, homelessness prevention, rent and utility assistance as well as small business assistance.

City council members will meet virtually today at 6 p.m. The meeting will be streamed live at salisburync.gov/webcast and on the city’s Twitter account. Anyone who wishes to speak during public comment must sign-up by 5 p.m. on Jan. 19 by contacting City Clerk Kelly Baker at kbake@salisburync.gov or 704-638-5233.

The 2021 Federal Action Plan outlines the city’s projects and policy needs in the areas of community and economic development, quality of life, public safety and public infrastructure.

In the area of community and economic development, the plan prioritizes the funding needed for the restoration and redevelopment of the Empire Hotel, a subsidy for the cost of services and improvements needed for broadband, support the improvements outlined in the Main Street Downtown master plan and the funding needed for the Dixonville-Lincoln Memorial honoring the community’s Black residents. Additionally, the plan prioritizes the funding needed to transform the nearby, vacant elementary school into useful space, such as senior housing.

Some quality of life priorities include ensuring federal COVID-19 funds reach intended recipients, providing funding to support first responders, funding to support the local farmers market, funding to rehabilitate blighted houses in established communities to create affordable housing, seeking federal support for housing for seniors and those without homes and funding to support local initiatives to reduce barriers for ex-offenders trying to become productive members of the community.

Another “quality of life” priority is the support for programs that provide a cleaner environment, such as energy-efficient vehicles and waste reduction.

Public safety priorities include funds to address the rise in domestic violence, innovative policing initiatives, DNA collection, gang suppression and violent crime reduction. Additionally, the plan calls for police training to help build racial equity in the justice system as well as mental health crisis intervention training. Other priorities include supporting fire suppression initiatives and securing a grant to help the local community battle the opioid epidemic.

Infrastructure priorities include road and bridge improvements, greenway enhancements and bicycle routes and funding to replace the revenue lost from reduced transit fares last year. Water, sewer and stormwater needs in the plan include an update of the aging water infrastructure, support for policies that provide Clean Water Act regulatory relief, federal support for stream restoration, initiatives that reduce lead contamination and prompt implementation of a sedimentation and flood protection plan for the city’s raw water pump station and related infrastructure.

Also at the meeting, city council members will consider approving the 2020-21 fiscal year action plan that outlines the use of a $200,221 Community Development Block Grant from HUD via the federal CARES Act. The funding is to be used for preventing, preparing for and responding to the pandemic.

Uses include public service agencies, housing activities, planning, economic development and infrastructure. The plan is to designate $50,055 for public services in addition to the $34,834 still available from a past HUD CDBG grant, $75,000 for rent and utility assistance, $10,000 for emergency sewer lateral repair assistance, $40,000 for a homeless prevention strategy and $60,000 for small business assistance.

Also on the agenda:

• Council members will receive a presentation from Community Planning Services and hold a public hearing to designate two local houses as local historic landmarks, including the “Moore House,” located at 124 S. Ellis Street and the “Napolean Bonparte McCanless House,” located at 619 South Main Street. Additionally, council members will hold a public hearing to consider a recommendation regarding the eligibility to list the “Edgar S. and Madge Temple House,” located at 1604 Statesville Blvd., in the National Register of Historic Places.

• Council members will appropriate $1,155 in donations received in December for the Share2Care fund to the 2020-21 budget. Those funds will then be distributed to Rowan Helping Ministries to administer via their utility assistance program.

• Council members will consider a request for a right-of-way encroachment by Spectrum for the installation of directional bored duct on Lash Drive. There is no cost to the city.

• Council members will consider adopting an order to close a portion of an alley located in the 800 block of West Cemetery Street, referenced as Elite Street, and accept an offer of dedication for the right-of-way. A public hearing for the closure was held at the Jan. 5 meeting, and no public comments were received.

• Council members will consider Land Development District Map Amendments Z-01-2020 and Z-02-2020. The first amendment would rezone one parcel on the south side of South Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue from “Corridor Mixed Use” and “Highway Business” to just “Highway Business.” The latter amendment would rezone a parcel located at 725 South Main Street from “Highway Business” to “Corridor Mixed Use.”

• Mayor Karen Alexander will proclaim January the National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Additionally, Jan. 24-30 will be proclaimed Salisbury School Choice Week, while Jan. 31 to Feb. 6 is Catholic Schools Week.

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