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Historic Preservation Commission approves Integro Technologies expansion, Paint the Pavement project

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — The Historic Preservation Commission on Thursday gave the green light for both an Integro Technologies expansion and an annual Paint the Pavement project downtown.

The Rowan Economic Development Commission and Gov. Roy Cooper announced in December that Integro Technologies, a machine vision company, would expand its headquarters at 301 S. Main St. to support a new logistics engineering division to aid the company’s growth into the e-commerce industry. By doing so, Integro estimates the creation of 30 new jobs and a $2.67 million investment in equipment and improvements. It currently employs more than 40 people.

An application for the expansion is required to go before the Historic Preservation Commission since the building is located within the downtown historic district. The application was first presented to the HPC in March and conditionally approved pending additional details about treatment of the East Bank Street façade and its impact on pedestrians. Standards within the HPC require that the applicant provide details that would create a pedestrian scale.

At Thursday’s meeting, Integro Technologies Owner Shawn Campion and HPC member Elizabeth Trick, who is working with The Bogle Firm to develop the expansion, returned to HPC to address that specific issue by requesting approval for two options to implement on the East Bank Street façade.

In an effort to be more pedestrian friendly, the first option for the façade is the installation of a vertical garden, consisting of eight green, metal panes. The panels would extend from the sidewalk level and be 4 feet wide and 12 feet high. A planting area measuring 12 to 16 inches from the panels would be required to support vegetation growth, but it requires approval from the Salisbury City Council since it encroaches on the public right-of-way.

The application did not state what type of plants would be installed, but they would “most likely be a climber.”

The second option is to install eight bricked-in windows along the East Bank Street façade of the proposed expansion. The bricked-in windows would measure 3 feet 4 inches wide and 9 feet 8 inches high. Six of those would be in blond brick to contrast with the building’s red brick background. The remaining two on the arched building bay would be red to contrast with the blond brick background.

Trick, who is a member of the commission but recused herself from the vote, said the request is to accept both options because the decision from city council members could conclude which option to utilize for the project.

The commission unanimously approved both proposed options for the façade, with some conditions for the proposed garden. Those conditions include the installation of an appropriate plant species that ensures year-round color and the responsibility of the applicant to care for the plants and replace them when they’re diseased, dying or dead.

Integro received level one economic development investment grants from both the Salisbury City Council and the Rowan County Board of Commissioners. Those grants will have the county return 75% of the company’s paid taxes for a five-year period as long as the company meets certain employment requirements.

Also at the meeting, the HPC granted unanimous approval for an annual Paint the Pavement project, a grassroots initiative being piloted by the Public Art Committee. The city has opened its call for applications from all local artists, which can include neighborhood or school groups as well.

April 30 is the deadline to submit entries digitally or via email at public.art@salisburync.gov. Applications can also be mailed to Public Art, 132 N. Main Street, Salisbury, NC, 28144. Selections are anticipated on May 15, and June 6 is currently scheduled for official pavement painting day.

The paintings will be on five crosswalks within Salisbury’s Railwalk Arts District — four at the intersection of Kerr and Lee streets, and one mid-block crossing on East Kerr Street next to Lee Street theatre to continue the rail. The paintings would become city property as they’re located in the public right-of-way. Each crosswalk measures 6 feet wide and 25 feet long.

The project will be funded by a $2,000 grant received by the Rowan Arts Council in December, with no costs to applicants or selected artists.

The type of paint, known as traffic paint or porch paint, is designed to withstand high traffic areas and to not become slippery when wet. It was approved for use by both the city’s Engineering Department and Public Works Department. It’s expected to begin fading after a year.

Though the goal is to continue the project annually, Salisbury Urban Design Planner Alyssa Nelson said during the meeting funding after the first year is still being discussed among Public Art Committee members. If the project was to discontinue, milling and resurfacing would be required. Additionally, discussions for how the paintings will be replaced each year are also ongoing.

Nelson added that either the city or Public Art Committee members would be tasked with maintaining the paintings, with assistance from the Public Works Department if the crosswalks are damaged with graffiti, for example. Sue McHugh, both a HPC and Public Art Committee member, said other options are also available for maintenance, including allowing the artists to make necessary touch-ups.

Salisbury Community Planning Director Hannah Jacobson said the city’s Public Works Department is currently making improvements to the crosswalks and nearby curbs in the Railwalk Arts District.

Discussions for the “Paint the Pavement” project began last August after Mayor Pro Tem Al Heggins proposed the idea of a community-driven diversity mural project at the July 21 city council meeting. Her idea behind the mural was to bring people together through a shared vision using the arts, enliven city spaces, align with the city’s efforts to strengthen infrastructure, drive public-led initiatives and shout, “Everyone belongs.”

Taylor Ellerbee, who owns Pier and Curtain Home Restoration, along with attorney Whitney Wallace Williams have led the project since. Ellerbee was inspired to bring the project to Salisbury after traveling to numerous small towns throughout the nation with similar artwork before the pandemic. She outlined Salisbury’s plan using a draft document from Charlotte’s project in 2017.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

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