As a strong advocate for revitalization of old town centers, we carefully observe how interventions progress in other communities so we have insights about the efficacy of a range of solution sets and are alert to new possibilities. The challenges for old Main Streets are greater than ever today so it is important that we realistically assess, design and implement strategies to increase the probability of success. With that in mind, a piece in the Daily Times discussing efforts in Salisbury, which have been underway for a decade, caught our attention. Some “business owners [there] are questioning if revitalization plans by Urban Salisbury go far enough to turn around the downtown area” and saying that revitalization has to go beyond a facelift. Going beyond a facelift seems logical to us for it requires a wide range of comprehensive interventions, the physical environment being one of them, if vitality is going to be returned to our town centers.
SALISBURY — The murmur in Salisbury’s sleepy downtown may have grown to a roar in the past year. That success is the focus of downtown proponents who, despite a recent facade improvement grant denial, have vowed to push onward with revitalizing the city’s core. . . . Officials have said it’s not the end — it’s not even the main focus, just a piece of the puzzle. But some business owners think too much effort is going into one piece when another, easier option exists.
Downtown revitalization has been going on in Salisbury for more than a decade. Plans have been drafted, funded, discussed and then shelved over and over again. But Urban Salisbury officials have said it won’t happen with this one.
Hope said the organization will apply for grant funds again and won’t give up on the Main Street Master Plan. But in the meantime, a whole new crowd can be found downtown during monthly Third Friday celebrations. In comparison to past efforts, Hope thinks this one shows more promise. “It has raised awareness and enthusiasm for the downtown,” he said.