West End project coordinator reflects on community meetings

Published 12:07 am Sunday, February 26, 2023

Salisbury’s West End community continues to explore the best possible funding disbursement from an $800,000 grant the city recently received.

City officials have been holding conversations in various formats to engage community residents in a collaborative effort to move the project forward.

Two virtual town halls were scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, and while the first one did happen, the second one was postponed until March. 2.

The program coordinator, Chanel Nestor, remarked on Friday that her conversation with West End community members was very vocal.

“We really did hit the ground running,” Nestor said.

The virtual meeting came on the heels of an in-person town hall event at the Miller Recreation Center on Feb. 16. While a couple of people attended both, Nestor indicated that it diverged a bit from the first meeting in content.

“One thing that was different was the focus on Livingstone College and working more collaboratively with it,” Nestor said. “Individuals were interested in what Livingstone safety protocols were, patrolling there and how people access campus.”

As Nestor pointed out, a recurring element of both conversations rose to the top.

“There was also conversation as it pertained to the community’s self-determination,” Nestor said. “They wanted to ensure the community was leading, not only programming, but also safety, like beefing up a neighborhood watch, and putting more ability in the community’s hands to self determine what happens to them.”

Nestor added that there was a conversation about implementing a home-ownership program.

“Much of the neighborhood is rented property,” Nestor said. “They want to see it being primary homes for people versus people purchasing homes to rent out.”

Preserving the neighborhood’s history, both living and physical, is another goal that Nestor would like to accomplish with the grant’s funding.

“When I think about action being done, it is preserving living history that exists as well as physical history like many of the old structures,” Nestor said. “The preservation of history is very important. The elderly that are at the forefront of the action and who want to see this community thrive deserve storytelling that preserves living history for individuals who have lived in this community for decades.”

The rescheduled virtual town hall will take place on March 2 at 10 a.m.
To join in on the virtual conversations and make your voice heard, go to www.salisburync.gov/WestEndPM.