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Bell Tower to be repaired as first phase of Downtown Park Initiative

Salisbury’s iconic Bell Tower will ring again, hopefully in time for the traditional family New Year’s Eve celebration held at the site. The bell in the tower has not rung for several years because of structural decay. Repair of the 1892 tower has begun, thanks to a grant from the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

 

The grant was made possible by the 2016-2017 State budget supported by the county’s legislative delegation, which includes Tom McInnis, Andrew Brock, Harry Warren, and Carl Ford. The Bell Tower is located at the corner of West Innes and South Jackson streets on a 3.5 acre city block one block from the square of Downtown Salisbury. The property had been owned by First Presbyterian Church as part of the Maxwell Chambers Trust for more than 150 years.

In July of this year, the Blanche and Julian Robertson Family Foundation partnered with a group of community leaders to purchase the property for purposes of creating a downtown greenspace and park. More than 25 families participated in this unique community partnership to provide a quality greenspace in downtown Salisbury. “As I have spoken with community leaders who desired to be a part of this transformational project, the bell tower consistently came up as a priority for restoration and preservation,” noted Margaret Kluttz, President of the Blanche and Julian Robertson Family Foundation. “This is just the first phase of what will be many more improvements to the park that will eventually grace downtown Salisbury,” she added. The City of Salisbury received a one-time downtown revitalization grant of $94,340 from the Department of Commerce to support repairs to the historic Bell Tower. Salisbury’s City Council agreed to accept the grant at its meeting on Tuesday afternoon. “The Bell Tower is like our own version of the Washington Monument. It is architecturally significant, historic, and unique. We are truly grateful that the State of North Carolina provided funding to help us preserve and enhance this structure that has been a part of our downtown landscape for more than 124 years” said Karen Alexander, Mayor of the City of Salisbury.

The current “Bell Tower Park” is home to many events in the city, including National Day of Prayer, New Year’s Eve family events, Halloween Fun Fest, a part of the city’s “History and Art” Trail, weddings, and Christmas events with appearances by the Grinch. Repair has begun by contractor Alfred C. Wilson and Co. of Salisbury, a company that emphasizes reuse and restoration. Repairs include building an interior support system to ensure that the weight distribution is sound, thereby allowing the heavy bell to ring safely. The church to which the Bell Tower was attached was built in 1892 to replace an earlier building. It was designed by Charles Webber Bolton of Philadelphia, who planned more than 500 churches during his career.

First Presbyterian is the only one he designed in North Carolina. In 1971, the church building was razed, but the unique Bell Tower was left intact in a small park that also includes the 1850 Presbyterian Session House.The wood that serves as the structural skeleton inside the tower is mostly original, and it has been damaged by water and insects over time. “We hope to have the bell tower functional by New Year's Eve, and have it looking better on the exterior in the near term as well,” Kluttz said. “This is a community project, with a partnership between the city, the state, many local philanthropists who love their community, and the Blanche and Julian Robertson Family Foundation.”

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Information

The City encourages the community to stay informed, practice good hygiene, be aware, and be prepared.

As a community we are in this together; stay calm and help each other by staying home if you are sick, check in on your neighbors, and continue to slow the spread of COVID-19 by using best practices.


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CDBG & COVID-19

On September 11, 2020 the City was notified of a second allocation of CDBG-CV funds in the amount of $200,221. To deploy these funds, Council will have to adopt an amendment to the FY20-21 Annual Action Plan to describe, broadly speaking, how the funds will be utilized. City Council held a public hearing on December 1 and opened a public comment period that ended on December 25, 2020. A draft was presented at the January 5, 2021 City Council meeting, and a public comment period closed on January 12, 2021.

A new draft for the use of the CDBG funds is now available for public review, the file is available below.

CAPER Public Review Draft

Current COVID-19 Restrictions

Executive Order 185:

  • Lifts the Modified Stay at Home Order established under Executive Order 181
  • Still requires face coverings in all public indoor settings
  • Allows many businesses to operate at 50% capacity
  • Extends onsite service of alcohol until 11 p.m.
  • Lifts the 100-person cap on some businesses that were operating at 30% capacity
  • Allows some indoor businesses – including bars and taverns, indoor amusement parks, movie theaters and indoor sports arenas – to open at 30% capacity (with a cap of 250 people)
  • Allows larger indoor arenas with a capacity of more than 5,000 people to open at 15% capacity with no cap (as long as additional safety protocols in place)
  • Increases the indoor mass gathering limit to 25 people (the outdoor mass gathering limit remains at 50 people)

Each of these routes arrives and departs from the central Transfer Site on Depot St. Any bus you board can take you to the Transfer Site. Any member of the public may ride on the bus. The buses do not operate on holidays.

Please note that the last time listed for a stop indicates the last bus will be traveling to that location and no further transfers are available.


Travel Mask Mandate

https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/masks/mask-travel-guidance.html

The Transit Security Administration issued a security directive effective on February 1, 2021 requiring the wearing of masks by travelers to prevent spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Conveyance operators must also require all persons onboard to wear masks when boarding, disembarking, and for the duration of travel.

This Order must be followed by all passengers on public conveyances (e.g., airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, ride-shares) traveling into, within, or out of the United States as well as conveyance operators (e.g., crew, drivers, conductors, and other workers involved in the operation of conveyances) and operators of transportation hubs ( e.g., airports, bus or ferry terminals, train or subway stations, seaports, ports of entry) or any other area that provides transportation in the United States.

People must wear masks that cover both the mouth and nose when awaiting, boarding, traveling on, or disembarking public conveyances. People must also wear masks when entering or on the premises of a transportation hub in the United States. A copy of the Transportation Security Administration’s security directive can be found at www.tsa.gov


If you leave home, practice your Ws: Wear, Wait, Wash

Covid-19: What are the 3 w's for COVID-19? 1 Wear a cloth mask over your nose and mouth. 2 Wait 6 feet apart. Avoid close contact. 3 Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.

Stay safe. When outside, stay at least 6 ft. apart.

Covid-19: social distancing in public parks and trails

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