Public hearing for downtown social district, presentation on Cure Violence on agenda for in-person council meeting

Published 12:04 am Tuesday, March 15, 2022

SALISBURY — A public hearing for a proposed downtown social drinking district and a presentation on the Cure Violence approach to reduce gun violence are on the agenda for Tuesday’s in-person City Council meeting.

Council members will return to in-person meetings Tuesday, so members of the public can attend the meeting in-person in the council chambers or virtually beginning at 6 p.m. It will be streamed live at and on the city’s Twitter and Facebook accounts. Anyone who wishes to speak during the public comment period must sign up no later than 5 p.m. today by contacting City Clerk Kelly Baker at or 704-638-5233.

Since last fall, Downtown Salisbury Inc. has led the proposal of a social district in downtown Salisbury, which would allow consumers to purchase alcohol from state-licensed businesses and restaurants and walk around with specially marked cups within the district boundaries. Following several public input sessions throughout January, DSI presented the idea to council members at the March 1 meeting.

DSI proposed the boundaries include the entirety of the municipal services district, the area officially considered to be downtown, in addition to the Napoleon Bonaparte McCanless House at 619 South Main St., which is working to become an events and wedding venue. But council members discussed potentially starting small out of concern for youth safety in areas near the district boundaries.

The district would be jointly managed by city staff, Salisbury Police Department for enforcement and the Public Works Department for trash, recycling and signs.

DSI cited a number of pros for the district, including business growth, increased downtown spending and another revenue stream for businesses that aren’t bars and restaurants because they could seek licenses to serve to-go drinks. DSI is suggesting the district operate from noon to midnight Sunday through Thursday and from noon to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Drinking hours wouldn’t begin at Bell Tower Green Park until 5 p.m., and the Parks and Recreation Department could determine whether the park should be excluded from special events where alcohol consumption at the park may not be appropriate.

Also at the meeting, council member Anthony Smith will present the Cure Violence model, which is a targeted public health-style approach that works to address the root causes of violence. Since 2015, Smith has championed the Cure Violence model, which was founded in 1995 by Dr. Gary Slutkin, the former leader of the World Health Organization’s Intervention Development Unit. It launched in Chicago and spread across the nation in the following decade. Slutkin says the idea is violence spreads like a disease — violence begets more violence — but employing interrupters can cut the cycle short and change community norms.

Ingram Bell is the program manager for Gate City Coalition, the Cure Violence model in Greensboro, and she will join Smith during his presentation. Gate City Coalition consists of a team of “violence interrupters” who work within the community to help prevent further violence and retaliation, while outreach workers help participants develop temporary, short-term and long-term goals that can include housing, education and job attainment. The nonprofit One Step Further houses Greensboro’s model.

The program works independently of local police. Bell previously told the Post that police provide interrupters with crime data and inform them of crimes in the program’s target areas. And though interrupters may join officers on the scene of a crime, they interact with the affected community separately and conversations about what’s going on remain confidential to not violate community trust.

The council will also meet in a closed session prior the meeting at 5 p.m to discuss acquisition of property, an economic development matter and a personnel matter.

In other agenda items:

• The council will consider extending Interim Manager Brian Hiatt’s contract to April 30. His current contract is slated to end March 31.

• Council will consider scheduling a public hearing for the April 5 meeting to receive comments on a proposed economic incentive for a Trammell Crow Company project to be located on Henderson Grove Church Road. Trammell Crow Company is building a 756,000-square-foot logistics center in Kannapolis called Metro 63. Last month, the company talked to Salisbury’s Planning Board about a similar project in Salisbury, which would first require a rezoning and annexation of two parcels off Henderson Grove Church Road. Both the rezoning and annexation requests are on Tuesday’s agenda as well.

• Council will consider approving a four-year contract with Martin Starnes and Associates to provide audit services until 2025. Staff say the city received four proposals, with Winston-Salem-based Joyce and Company placing the lowest bid and Martin and Starnes rating the highest. The cost for the 2021-22 audit will be $37,000, which was the same cost for the 2020-21 budget audit.

• Council will consider the voluntary annexation of Cloninger Investments, Inc., which includes 3.23 acres at 645 Julian Road. The annexation would become effective on June 30.

• The council will consider rezoning one parcel measuring 128.17 acres on Harrison Road from general residential and heavy industrial to general residential.

• Council will consider setting a public hearing for April 19 in regards to a voluntary annexation request from Oxford Station for 79 acres on Old Mocksville Road.

• Council will receive an update on the upset bid process for two parcels located on the 1200 block of West Fisher Street and consider rejecting all bids. On Jan. 18, the council authorized the upset bid process for the sale of vacant parcels 005-143 and 005-144, which collectively measure less than an acre. The two parcels have a combined value of $34,062, with the initial bid put in at $1,500 and the current at $3,000. City staff are recommending the council reject all bids.

• Council will consider appointments to various boards and commissions.

• Mayor Karen Alexander will declare the month of April to be Civitan Awareness Month. March 18 marks Arbor Day, while March 31 marks Transgender Day of Visibility. April 2-8 marks Week of the Young Child.

About Natalie Anderson

Natalie Anderson covers the city of Salisbury, politics and more for the Salisbury Post. She joined the staff in January 2020 after graduating from Louisiana State University, where she was editor of The Reveille newspaper. Email her at or call her at 704-797-4246.

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