By Natalie Anderson
SALISBURY – The Community Appearance Commission has allocated almost all of its $ 40,000 allocation to local projects aimed at improving the visual and functional features of the downtown area.
The city hosted a group of architects, town planners, landscapers and a traffic engineer to conduct a study of the visual and functional features of Innes Street in 1995. Under the direction of the North Carolina Chapter of American Institute of Architects, they participated in a planning workshop known as the Urban Design Assistance Team. The workshop resulted in a long list of recommendations for improving the appearance and functionality of the downtown corridor, titled âTowards a Vision of the Future – The Innes Street Corridor Studyâ.
The town’s Community Appearance Commission is responsible for implementing these recommendations and applying for funding from Salisbury City Council each year to encourage merchants in Innes Street and the City Service District to make improvements. to the facade and other exterior improvements.
Eligible owners include those whose businesses are located in the MSD or one block from Innes Street. Homeowners must be up to date with their property tax payments, and a property does not have to be occupied at the time a grant application is submitted. However, a project is deemed ineligible if work begins at any time before the application is reviewed and approved by the Community Appearance Commission.
Eligible projects include upgrades or installation of exterior paints, facades, awnings, pedestrian amenities, masonry repairs, windows, doors, murals, roof repairs, additions patios, the removal of buildings and dilapidated parking lots and driveways.
Projects that are not eligible include routine maintenance, tools used for repair work, unapproved exterior modifications to properties in Local Historic Districts, interior rehabilitation or improvements that are not part of the design. of the facade and the construction of new buildings.
The Community Appearance Commission rates each application on a scale of 0 to 3 points depending on the type of project and the quality of the project, with âthe introduction of new elementsâ receiving three points. Replacement and stabilization of deteriorated features and components, along with minor landscaping, earns two points, while painting and minor repairs earn one point.
Each project is eligible for up to 50% of the grant, with a maximum of $ 5,000 per address and per facade. However, funding continues until it is exhausted, meaning that not all applications are accepted for the fiscal year in which they were received.
Funding for grants is provided annually by the city from the general fund. In fiscal year 2020-2021, the city awarded $ 40,000 for the two programs, which was divided into a pot of $ 20,000 for Innes Street Improvement Grants and $ 20,000 for Innes Street Improvement Grants. MSD grants. To date, all but $ 217 in the MSD Grants Fund has been depleted. Salisbury’s urban design planner Alyssa Nelson told the Post that the remaining funds, based on the Council’s recommendations, would be used to place plants in several empty pots located throughout the city center.
Innes Street Improvement Grant recipients for the current fiscal year include Josh Barnhardt of Barnhardt Jewelers for front and back facade work, Cheryl Goins of Pottery 101 for signs, Lloyd Nickerson for repairs to front and rear faÃ§ades and canopies of 106 and 108 W. Innes St., and Pam Coffield of Stitchin ‘Post Gifts for painting the front faÃ§ade. Originally $ 5,000 was approved for Sophia Talarantas of Christo’s Restaurant for a landscaping project, but that project was delayed and funding went to Coffield instead.
MSD grant recipients include Tiffany Kwok for facade work at Chinese restaurant Wong, Michael Owen for window repairs and painting at 116 East Council Street, Davis Cooke for painting and awnings at 124-126 West Innes St . and James Faust for improvements to 111 West Fisher St.
Barnhardt recently used several grants to fund major structural repairs to the building at his new Barnhardt Jewelers location at 112 East Innes St. He told the Post he needed a total of $ 100,000 to fix the issues. structural structures inherited during the purchase of the building.
âIt was a 140 year old building with 140 year old problems,â he said.
Barnhardt eventually received a set of four grants from the Downtown Revitalization Incentive Program, including part of the revitalization of the building for major structural improvements, a residential production grant for the creation of apartments in the center -City upstairs, a residential utility grant to cover the cost of bringing water and sewerage to the building, and a fire extinguisher grant to install a fire sprinkler system.
But he applied for an Innes Street improvement grant separately and received two grants of $ 5,000 for the front and back facade. These grants allowed him to replace the two facades and apply a historical aspect. Obtaining these grants, he said, made the whole resettlement feasible.
Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.