Council to discuss potential changes to Downtown Revitalization Incentive grant program

Published 12:10 am Tuesday, October 19, 2021

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com 

SALISBURY — Council members today will discuss proposed changes to the city’s Downtown Revitalization Incentive grant program, which has helped infuse more than $15 million in private investment downtown since its inception in 2014.

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

The DRI grant program was established in 2014 to promote economic growth and historic revitalization in the Downtown Municipal District. The city credits its involvement in 12 significant downtown projects, including the renovation and expansion of Salty Caper Pizza on Lee Street, updated heating and AC at the Meroney Theater and the relocation of Barnhardt Jewelers from Spencer.

The grant program consists of three competitive matching sub-grant programs targeting different project activities. Some proposed revisions include combining the Residential Production sub-grant with the Residential Utilities sub-grant and increasing the maximum award from $7,500 to $10,000 per residential unit, up to $100,000. The Building Rehabilitation grant promotes stabilization and preservation of older, historic buildings, with a maximum award of $50,000 or 25% of eligible project costs. The Residential Production grant promotes the development of new residential units, and would have a maximum award of $100,000 or $10,000 per residential unit. The Fire Suppression Grant encourages the expansion of back-alley fire lines to serve multiple buildings and can be used to offset the costs of building a sprinkler system. Fire grants have a maximum award of $25,000 and can cover up to 50% of the expansion costs.

Other changes include utilizing a scoring rubric to make grant selections, forming a review committee for grant applications and establishing an annual grant cycle.

Also on the agenda is request for voluntary annexation of Grants Landing, a nearly 78-acre property that will eventually bring around 230 single-family homes adjacent to the existing Forest Glen subdivision on Mooresville Road. The council approved the development in August.

The current tax value of the property is $390,859, and each single-family home would generate around $1,800 per year in property taxes based on the assumed average value of $250,000 per home.

In other items on the agenda:

• Council members will consider authorizing a sole source purchase in the amount of $188,302 from Aqua-Aerobic Systems Inc. for four floating aerator assemblies to be used in wastewater treatment. Funds for the purchase are included in the 2021-22 budget.

• Council members will consider authorizing a stormwater grant of $6,500 for improvements to Catawba College. The college reports issues with erosion and property loss around the culverts that border the ecological preserve and city greenway. This project replaces the culverts and stabilizes the soil. Funds for the grant are included in the 2021-22 budget as part of the Public Works Storm Drain Incentive Grant Program.

• Mayor Karen Alexander will declare Oct. 23 to be both “Make a Difference Day” and “NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet Day.”