Salisbury City Council approves funds for improvements to former bank building

Published 12:02 am Friday, May 19, 2023

SALISBURY — The Salisbury city council approved more than $800,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds to go toward improvements at the former Wells Fargo building downtown.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, Parks and Recreation Director Nick Aceves also gave updates on other local projects before focusing on Wells Fargo. Last year, the city bought the building in hopes of establishing a new location for the civic center, which these funds will help accomplish.

According to Aceves, $1 million of ARPA funds was allocated to the Wells Fargo and civic center. So far, $100,000 has been used on architectural plans to open the facility and install a new fire alarm system. Roughly $825,000 is left after the city will be using $75,000 to split a request for a quote with the Rufty-Holmes Senior Center for a civic center master plan.

On how to spend the rest of the money, council members were given two options: the first one mainly dealt with improving park amenities while the second concentrated on the Wells Fargo building.

Due to potential staffing issues with the first option, Aceves recommended that improvements be done to the Wells Fargo building instead. The money will be used to gut the first floor of the building and build additional restrooms. The newly renovated space can be used for future city events and rentals to produce revenue for the city. While this could bring more people  downtown, it would further limit parking, too.

Mayor Karen Alexander spoke in favor of permanent restrooms at the Kelsey Scott and City parks, which were part of the first option’s plan, so council voted to have the funds include constructing those as well.

The city will soon bring in a designer to assist on what the first floor bank building will be like. They will then work with contractors to get it down to “an industrial look, kind of like a blank canvas, so then if we want to add aesthetic improvements later we’ll be able to build from that. In the meantime, it can activate the space for the public,” Aceves said.