Historic Preservation Commission OKs Rowan Helping Ministries transitional housing project

Published 12:09 am Thursday, November 11, 2021

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — The Historic Preservation Commission on Wednesday gave the green light to a project that will expand Rowan Helping Ministries’ transitional housing.

The request was from Gray Stout, an architect in Charlotte who is working with Rowan Helping Ministries to provide 12 additional housing units. Stout’s request is to demolish one of two buildings located at 317 E. Liberty St. and construct a new one that will provide transitional housing with a current address of 0 Depot St.

Stout plans to demolish the historic R. B. Miller building, but preserve the facade, awnings and wooden deck that faces the Salisbury Depot railroad tracks. Demolition requests also require City Council approval.

Stout’s proposal is to construct a building that will include 12 single-room occupancy apartments, similar to the existing building, as new transitional housing for Rowan Helping Ministries. Stout proposes space for a laundry room, an office and six parking spaces. The buildings would be connected via a wooden deck to provide some “outdoor space” for tenants. The new building would also have space reserved for a future mural.

Outgoing Historic Salisbury Foundation Director Sada Stewart Troutman spoke in support of the project, adding that the foundation has “stared at this building for a long time and watched it decay” before a project proposal like this. She said HSF has been part of the planning process and developers have taken preservation ethics into account.

HPC member and HSF member Steve Cobb, who recused himself from the vote, also endorsed the project, adding that the building Stout is demolishing can’t be saved. The roof of the building has collapsed and some of the walls were pulled in as a result. Cobb said the Historic Salisbury Foundation donated the adjacent vacant lot to Stout as an incentive to save the buildings and complete the project.

HPC members briefly debated Stout’s plan to allow a mural to be painted directly onto a portion of the brick wall, but ultimately stated a separate certificate of appropriateness would need to be granted for the mural after seeing the proposed artwork. Additionally, HPC members approved the request with the conditions Stout returned with a full landscaping and lighting design. HPC standards require some form of fence or landscape buffer between new parking lots and buildings, in addition to adequate lighting.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.