Rabbi Will McCubbins, China Grove, N.C.
♦ The other day I got this flyer in my email concerning Tuesday’s “open house” for Downtown Salisbury’s Public Engagement Project. Basically Downtown Salisbury Inc. latest excursion into feigned “listening” to the public. There is one rule of thumb regarding either the city of Salisbury, DSI Inc., and the hierarchy of the SPD is that they could care less about what anyone says unless its in sync with their agenda. They use listening to quiet people down. They don’t really listen because if they listened they would take action on what citizens wanted.
How many times have we heard those jokers down at city hall say: “You are bringing up really good points–we’ll be getting back to you.” Nothing ever happens. People are now whispering that City hall is passive aggressive.
People have told Salisbury and DSI Inc. over and over:
We need more parking.
We need something downtown besides overpriced junktique, bric-a-brac, and “recycling stores”. We need real stores that will draw people. Daily the downtown is devoid of traffic and people except panhandlers. I wonder why. Night time, except for the few existing bars and eateries, Downtown is closed for the night. Nothing happening. People fear going downtown because of all the muggings and street stick-ups that occur around the mural lot and around the side streets that mostly go unreported.
“Norma Lu will you please come pick me up–I finished getting stiches in the Novant E.R. and my jaw got wired. They told me not to drive on the painkillers…I thought they said Downtown Night Out, not Downtown Lights Out.”
How come there are no visible minority retailers or restaurants down there?
Why are those merchants getting pounded for the Municipal Services District tax the heaviest in the Old North State to pay for a decrepit hotel that the local bankers got roped into buying. Instead of this year saying we got all these developers swarming into the South Main Bad Lands frothing at the mouth with wild excitement to develop Empire, DSI altered the tune slightly and said we got a developer who MIGHT two years from now be willing to invest $20,000,000 in the bat sanctuary. The guy, charmed by Downtown Salisbury after he allegedly made a wrong exit, has only signed what amounts to “possibility to consider” contract if the property passes an endless list of hurdles and the economy is okay. All this is to be accomplished two years in the future. Really. Then I hear Mark Lewis is telling people over a month ago that the Empire Hotel is a 10 year project.
Salisbury’s alleged city hall has tossed a lot of money into DSI. Inc. It’s not working.
Who says Downtowns are the centers of city life? In Salisbury the real centers of life are wherever the chain retailers and chain restaurants are. That’s where the cars and people go or they drive out of town to Concord, Kannapolis, Huntersville, and Winston-Salem. By the way Huntersville has no real Downtown, but people flock to Birksdale Village and their other shopping areas. And the steady growth of internet shopping with one-day shipping is closing down many brick and mortar spots or shrinking them to boutique size.
Maybe one day City Hall may actually listen to what people are requesting rather than a few bankers and real estate people who jerk City Council around with puppet strings.
What is DSI Inc. doing for the rest of Salisbury? Changing the traffic lights so people are forced to go Downtown even though they don’t want to go there.
In the interim if you go into Downtown Salisbury Friday night or any night, pack. Get yourself a concealed carry permit and the required training. Don’t go unarmed to a stick-up, street beating, carjack, or an outdoor ATM in the Bury without protection.
Downtown Salisbury at the Square in 2025 through the visionary art work of Marina Bare: