Commissioners to consider agreement to allow digitization of Salisbury Post’s archive

Published 12:01 am Sunday, February 6, 2022

SALISBURY — The Rowan Public Library and Salisbury Post are working on a project to digitize the newspaper’s extensive archive of physical documents, photographs and newspaper clippings.

The Rowan County Board of Commissioners on Monday will consider approving a records loan agreement between the library and Salisbury Newsmedia, LLC, owner of the Post, to allow the library to scan and digitize the archive and preserve copies in the Edith M. Clark History Room for use by the public.

“The paper archives at the Salisbury Post are the first draft of our community’s history, the good, the bad and the newsworthy dating back to the early 1900s,” Salisbury Post Editor Josh Bergeron said. “Reporters often reference our paper archives when looking for background on stories. We’re hopeful that we can find a good solution that will preserve this history in a more accessible, digital format for future generations and make it easier for the public to examine already preserved documents.”

The agreement gives the library access to the Post’s archives, often called the “morgue,” the dozens of file cabinets stationed in the publication’s newsroom containing clippings and photographs from several decades. There are materials with information in the archives that might not be found anywhere else, said Gretchen Witt, supervisor of the library’s Edith M. Clark History Room. The records loan agreement will also better enable the library to qualify and apply for grants to fund the project.

“(The archives) are a wonderful reflection of the history of the Salisbury Post and the history of the community and we’re hoping we can preserve that for generations of citizens of Rowan to see in the future,” Witt said.

The timeline for the digitization effort is difficult to determine due to the scope of the project. Witt said the library will work as quickly as possible, but expects the process to take some time. The records loan agreement is for an initial term of three years and may be extended as needed.

The county will not be obligated to cover any expenses for the project. The county would only incur cost if it chooses to outsource digitization of documents. At that time, the county would appropriate funds, most likely from a grant.

The Board of Commissioners will meet at 3 p.m. in the J. Newton Cohen Sr. Room on the second floor of the Rowan County Administration Building. The meeting can be joined virtually at by using password 028144 or by phone by dialing 602-753-0140, 720-928-9299 or 213-338-8477.

Also on the meeting agenda:

• A public accounting firm will deliver the results of an audit conducted on the county’s finances for the fiscal year that ended on June 30.

• Commissioners will receive an update from Craig Lamb with Rowan-Cabarrus Community College regarding the college’s Better Jobs for Better Lives in Rowan County initiative. The program is a scholarship fund provided by the Board of Commissioners to the college to encourage participation of residents in short-term, certification-based training.

The initiative supports training not otherwise funded through scholarships and is used to help both businesses and job seekers. Workforce development has been a key talking point for the county’s economic development leaders recently as more economic activity has picked up in Rowan County, with the potential for several major job-creation projects on the horizon.

• The board will consider approving the purchase of three Dodge Ram 1500 pickup trucks for the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office at a cost of $94,211. Each truck will cost $31,337 plus $200 each for a color upgrade. The cost of the trucks was accounted for in the county’s current fiscal year budget.

• The board will accept a $24,499 grant from the North Carolina Governor’s Crime Commission that will be used by the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office to purchase a tactical throw phone system that would be used in a situation where there is barricaded a hostage or suspect to communicate. The standalone system will cost $4,000. The Sheriff’s Office will use the remainder of the grant funding to purchase 14 rugged push bumpers with fender wraps, headlight coverage and four mounted lights that would be mounted on patrol vehicles. The bumpers would protect deputies, their vehicles and a potential third party in the event that a deputy strikes a deer while driving their patrol car.

• Commissioners will consider approving a lease between the county and The High Road, Inc. for the 2,700 square-foot space formerly occupied by Tsunami Development Literacy Program at West End Plaza. The High Road, a nonprofit organization, is planning to open a center for veterans at the former Salisbury mall. The board approved entering into a lease with the organization during its planning retreat last month. The initial lease term is for one year with four renewals of one year each and the rate is $1 per year. The High Road will pay its own utilities and is responsible for repair and unfits inside the space while the county will maintain exterior systems and the roof.

• Commissioners will consider approving an agreement for the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office to purchase four tasers and body cameras for its warrant squad. The total cost of the agreement is for $32,706 and includes storage of footage for four years extending through August 2024.

• The board will consider accepting an offer from the state to acquire property along Kimball Road required for the upcoming Kimball Road bridge replacement project. The bridge being replaced crosses Grants Creek near the Lake Corriher Wilderness Park and South Rowan Public Library.

• The bridge is being replaced due to its age, according to NCDOT Highway Division Nine Engineer Pat Ivey. Ivey said work will likely start in the summer on the project. It has not been determined how the replacement project will impact traffic flow on Kimball Road, but Ivey did say it’s typical to have a road closure on projects such as this. The new bridge may be wider, but will still be two lanes.

• Commissioners will consider giving permission for Pray Rowan to set up a prayer tent in the parking lot of West End Plaza on March 5. The organization plans to invite anyone who would like to pray to stop by the tent.

About Ben Stansell

Ben Stansell covers business, county government and more for the Salisbury Post. He joined the staff in August 2020 after graduating from the University of Alabama. Email him at

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