Salisbury’s plan for the future now available for review

The Forward 2040 plan is a comprehensive outline for growth

Titled, “Forward 2040: Salisbury’s Framework for Growth,” the comprehensive plan is a guide for the City’s urban growth over the next 20 years relating to land use, future growth, physical development, and large-scale improvements.(David Whisenant-WBTV)

By David Whisenant

Published: Nov. 14, 2022 at 12:35 PM EST

SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) – A draft of the City of Salisbury comprehensive plan is now available for public review and feedback through virtual and in-person meetings, and on the city website here.

Titled, “Forward 2040: Salisbury’s Framework for Growth,” the comprehensive plan is a guide for the City’s urban growth over the next 20 years relating to land use, future growth, physical development, and large-scale improvements. The Forward 2040 steering committee developed the draft plan from residents’ vision of how the community should grow responsibly, and in a way that considers the efficient, equitable and cost-effective provision of city services.

The comprehensive plan process was initiated three years ago to address the city’s challenges and opportunities head-on, though the pandemic interrupted much of the plan’s progress. Now, the steering committee is ready to proceed with the feedback portion of the process.

The draft plan boasts 10 key themes:

  • Responsibly-Managed Growth
  • Context-Based Urban Design
  • Thriving, Livable Neighborhoods
  • Sustainable, Clean Natural Environment
  • Resilient, Diverse Economy
  • Healthy, Active Community
  • Equitable & Inclusive Community
  • Vibrant Community Atmosphere
  • Unique, Dynamic Downtown
  • Local & Regional Partnerships

“Public participation is the backbone of the Forward 2040 comprehensive plan,” said Salisbury Planning Director Hannah Jacobson. “While I am proud of the draft plan, it will only get better with feedback from this community.”

Each theme is listed separately on the webpage, each with an opportunity to leave written feedback. Other opportunities are available to review and provide feedback on the draft plan. The community planning department will host a series of in-person meetings:

  • Monday, December 5
  • 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
  • Horizons Unlimited, 1636 Parkview Circle
  • Thursday, December 8
  • 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
  • Rowan Museum, 202 North Main Street
  • Saturday, December 10
  • 10:00 a.m. – noon
  • RCCC North Campus, Building 600 Rm 101, 1333 Jake Alexander Blvd. South
  • January 2023 – TBD
  • Livingstone College
  • 701 W. Monroe Street

Residents also are able to engage directly with planners who helped create the plan. To sign-up to request small group or one-on-one presentations, visit //, call (704) 638-5230, or email

Virtual “office hours” meetings will be held via Zoom:

  • Friday, November 18 – Noon to 1 p.m.
  • Friday, December 2 – Noon to 1 p.m.
  • Friday, December 9 – Noon to 1 p.m.

For more information on the draft Forward 2040: Salisbury’s Framework for Growth comprehensive plan, please contact the planning department at (704) 638-5230, or email

Copyright 2022 WBTV. All rights reserved.

Salisbury Academy to open location in downtown Salisbury

By David Whisenant

PublishedNov. 15, 2022 at 6:20 AM EST

The Salisbury Academy Upper School (grades 9-12) is designed to make the journey of discovering and embracing that greatness accessible for each learner.(Submitted photo)

SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) – Salisbury Academy has announced that the Salisbury Academy Upper School will be located at 316 Depot Street in downtown Salisbury.

According to the school, the new downtown location enhances the SA experiential education model by leveraging the community as a classroom and community leaders as educators. Salisbury Academy Upper School students will engage in authentic work daily enhanced by the wealth of resources in the community to build their life skills and personal interests.

Internships with local businesses, visits to local art and theatre centers, and connections to governmental and nonprofit agencies will all be within a few blocks of the school’s location.

The school’s website describes the SA Upper School as an “academic journey is a thoughtful, four-year progression designed to develop students in alignment with the graduate profile (above). Annual themes, such as self-discovery and civic collaboration, braid together learning across all classes and are accentuated by a signature course experience called Compass.”

In their personal and social journey, upper school students have the benefit of engagement in their personal passions, encouragement to grow to their maximum potential, and inspiration from a diverse community of learners. SA students are celebrated as individuals as they, likewise, celebrate the individuality of their peers.

The Upper School provides its students a rich student experience by developing traditions and experiences that mark movement and achievement through these important four years, according to the website. From interest and service clubs to performances, socials, and annual field trips, the Upper School will build enriching student experiences that unite the student body across and within grade levels.

SA Upper School seeks to create partnerships to complement the work of other local educational institutions. For example, dual-enrollment opportunities with Catawba College provide juniors and seniors course options ranging from highly-transferrable general education courses to specific electives addressing personal interests. Collaborations with Rowan-Salisbury Schools and other local institutions continue to develop as well.

The SA Upper School experience can be both affordable and accessible.  A variety of scholarship opportunities are available.  See tuition rates here.

Copyright 2022 WBTV. All rights reserved.

Empire Hotel developers detail progress with business leaders

SALISBURY — More than 120 business leaders attended the Rowan Chamber’s Power In Partnership breakfast on Thursday morning to hear Josh Barnhardt and Brett Krueger speak about the redevelopment of the Empire Hotel property. The event was held at Trinity Oaks and was sponsored by Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.

“The feedback we have had from their presentation has been fantastic,” said Chamber President Elaine Spalding. “The Empire Hotel was featured on the recent Historic Salisbury Homes Tour with one of the hotel rooms completely refurbished. They also did a pilot television show for HGTV.”

Sada Troutman, executive director of Downtown Salisbury, Inc. (DSI) introduced Barnhardt and Krueger and said she sees them out of her window every week meeting with investors, giving tours and working on the property. DSI owns the Empire Hotel and has a task force working on the transition to the developers.

Barnhardt and Krueger shared a detailed presentation on the Empire Hotel re-development. At completion, the property will include a boutique hotel with 25 luxury historic rooms; the original 1906 Grand Ballroom completely restored with seating for 200 guests; 38 apartments; a full-service spa and gym; a fine dining restaurant/bar area; and, four to six retail spaces on the first floor. Their timeline calls for the plans to be complete by the second quarter of 2023. Construction would begin shortly after that and take approximately 24 months.

“Please be patient with us. We want to restore everything back to the original historic details. As may of you know with historic preservation, it takes some time to peel back the layers of decades of neglect and previous renovation projects,” said Krueger.

“Our team is passionate about this community and we want you to be proud of the Empire Hotel once again,” said Barnhardt. He listed The Sherbert Group in Charlotte and Rowan County native Eddie Belk with Belk Architecture as the other partners in the project.

Krueger has over 25 years of construction and development experience with signature projects like the Ivey’s Hotel in Charlotte and the Windsor Hotel in Asheville.

Being a second-generation builder and having an early strong real estate sales background gave him the experience to form his own company, Corinthian Development. He excelled as one of the top builders and developers in his market producing over $70 million in homes and developments. With over a dozen developments, Krueger has directly developed properties from Charlotte, Lake Norman and Banner Elk.

Barnhardt was raised in Salisbury, where he developed a fascination with history and old buildings. His mother, Debbie Barnhardt Bassinger, owns Barnhardt Jewelers in Salisbury.

Coming from a family of entrepreneurs and construction trades he learned the value of hard work at a young age. After living in historic neighborhoods in New York City, Charleston and Charlotte he has a passion for creating distinctive downtown living spaces. His 20-year career has included international technology consulting with IBM, growing a London-based startup, and leadership positions with Bank of America and Wells Fargo before founding Iron Horse Development. He has a B.A. and MBA from UNC Chapel Hill.

The Chamber’s next PIP breakfast will be on November 17 with Hotwire Executive Sue Kelly speaking. For more information, contact the Rowan Chamber at (704) 633-4221 or or

Salisbury issues Request for Proposals (RFPs) for historic Plaza building

SALISBURY, N.C., (Friday, Oct. 21, 2022) –The City of Salisbury issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to purchase and redevelop the Plaza building located in downtown Salisbury. The mixed-use seven-story building, completed in 1910, was the tallest in North Carolina when it was constructed and still serves as an iconic image of the city. Salisbury is located along the Interstate I-85 corridor and is mid-way between Charlotte, NC, and the Triad region.

The building was a gift to the city from Ralph and Anne Ketner in 1991. The Ketners bought the building and completely renovated it in 1988. The goals of the rehabilitation were to establish downtown residential and to allow for workforce housing in Downtown Salisbury. Some 30 years later, Salisbury and its downtown corridor are currently experiencing noted growth in commercial and residential development.

The City is seeking qualified and experienced developers to respond to the RFP. The building is currently occupied by tenants and houses 20 apartments, six office spaces, and three commercial businesses. While the City believes the highest and best use of the building remains mixed-use inclusive of ground-floor retail and market-rate apartments, other uses can be considered. The City is also seeking proposals for a parcel located behind the building that could serve as parking for the building’s users.

Electronically-submitted proposals will be due to by 2 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 2. Tours are encouraged and will be scheduled for the week of Monday, Oct. 31, through Friday, Nov. 4. 

The full RFP is located on the city website at

The City of Salisbury is located in the heart of the Piedmont region of North Carolina, midway between Charlotte and Greensboro. Salisbury is the county seat of Rowan County, and provides a full range of municipal services, including law enforcement, fire protection, zoning and code enforcement and water and sewer systems. For more information regarding the City of Salisbury and its services and departments, please visit us on the web at To receive updates regarding local initiatives, meetings, programs and events, please follow us on Twitter at @CitySalisburyNC and Facebook at

Piedmont Players presents: A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE & MURDER

Music by Steven Lutvak Lyrics by Robert L. Freedman & Steven Lutvak
Book by Robert L. Freedman
Directed/Choreographed by Bradley Moore
Music Directed by John Stafford

Set in London in 1909, the musical comedy A Gentleman’s Guide to Love &
Murder centers on Monty Navarro, a penniless clerk who is informed after the death of
his mother that he is ninth in line to inherit the earldom of Highhurst, controlled by the
wealthy D’Ysquith banking family.

After the imperious ruling Lord dismisses Monty’s claim of being a relative, the eight D’Ysquiths ahead of young Mr. Navarro begin dying in natural and unnatural ways. (A single actor plays all the not-so-nice D’Ysquiths, adding to the merriment of this production.) Meanwhile, Monty is trying to woo money-minded and self-centered Sibella Hallward — until he finds himself drawn to young Phoebe D’Ysquith. How will all these convoluted storylines come together? Come find out!

Piedmont Players’ production, directed and choreographed by Executive Director,
Bradley Moore and music directed by John Stafford, features a cast of 11 of the most
talented people you will ever see on stage. The 2014 winner for Best Musical, don’t miss
this four-time Tony Award winner!

Piedmont Players Theatre’s cast includes: Nick Culp as Monty Navarro, Paul Leopard as
The D’Ysquith Family, Laura Raynor-Williams as Phoebe, Leslie Roberts as Sibella, Debbie
Hubbard as Miss Shingle, and an ensemble that includes: Marc Anderson, Molly
Bronson, Jean Kadela, Taylor Kroop, Jonathan Lodgek, and Dale Waters, who play more
than 75 different characters throughout the show.

PRODUCERS: Cold Stone Creamery & Edward and Susan Norvell

Friday, October 21 at 7:30 PM
Saturday, October 22 at 7:30 PM
Sunday, October 23 at 2:30 PM
Friday October 28 at 7:30 PM
Saturday, October 29 at 7:30 PM
Sunday, October 30 at 2:30 PM
Friday, November 04 at 7:30 PM
Saturday, November 05 at 7:30 PM
Sunday, November 06 at 2:30 PM
Doors open 30 minutes prior to each performance.

Tickets: $23 for adults; $21 for seniors/students/military.
Tickets are available at or by calling 704.633.5471

PRESS: For more information, please visit the Piedmont Players Theatre website
or contact Executive Director Bradley Moore directly at

Piedmont Players presents The Lion King, JR.

Music & Lyrics by Tim Rice & Elton John
Additional Music & Lyrics by Will Van Dyke, Lebo M, Mark Mancina, & Jay Rifkin
Book by Roger Allers & Irene Mecchi
Based on the Broadway production directed by Julie Taymor
Directed by Titus Quinn
Music Directed by Jenny Carrol & Laura Raynor-Williams
Choreographed by Krystal Stukes

THE LION KING, JR. is based on the 1994 Disney animated feature film of the same
name. The Lion King is the story of Simba, an adventurous and energetic lion cub who is
next in line to be king of the Pride Lands, a thriving and beautiful region in the African
savanna. When Simba’s father Mufasa is killed by his uncle Scar, though, Simba is led to
believe that his father’s death is his fault, and he is encouraged to run away forever.
Scar seizes power and with his already unstable mind deteriorating, the Pride Lands
experiences a darkness and desolation from which only Simba can save the animals of
the kingdom. Featuring classic songs from the film such as “Circle of Life,” “I Just Can’t
Wait to Be King,” “Hakuna Matata,” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” The Lion King
is a story and a spectacle about identity, family, and responsibility that is enjoyed
worldwide by people of all ages.

Piedmont Players Theatre’s cast includes: CJ Benjamin as Simba, Kara Holt as Nala, Sari
Lewin as Rafiki, Isaac Welch as Zazu, Isaiah M. Walker as Mufasa, Mary-Ellen A. Rakin as
Scar, Finley Driggers as Timon, Aidan Melton as Pumbaa, Kimora Cooper as Shenzi,
Asher Pethel as Banzai, Jackson Walters as Ed, Keira Coley as Sarabi, Zana Smyre-Rouse
as Sarafina, and Kayla Graham, Jada Neely, Shiloh Ricks, Londyn Williams, Vida S. Mejia,
Ariyana Walker, Trinity C. McCormick, Keianna Holliday, Thierry Agnant, Jamel Freeman,
Teague Rowland, Thomas Freeman, Amira Priester, Daleiah Waters, Annagail Murray,
June Tilley, Z’Laya Stockton as ensemble.

PRODUCING PARTNER: Bill & Shari Graham

Friday, September 16 at 7:30 PM
Saturday, September 17 at 7:30 PM
Sunday, September 18 at 2:30 PM
Friday, September 23 at 7:30 PM
Saturday, September 24 at 7:30 PM
Sunday, September 25 at 2:30 PM
Friday, September 30 at 7:30 PM
Saturday, October 01 at 7:30 PM
Sunday, October 02 at 2:30 PM

Doors open 30 minutes prior to each performance.

The Norvell Theater
135 E Fisher Street
Salisbury, NC 28144

Tickets: $16 for adults; $14 for seniors/students/military.
Tickets are available at or by calling 704.633.5471

PRESS: For more information, please visit the Piedmont Players Theatre website
or contact Executive Director Bradley Moore directly at

City of Salisbury looking for vendors for College Night Out

By David Whisenant Published: Jul. 18, 2022 at 6:32 AM EDT

The event is happening on August 18 at Bell Tower Green Park.(David Whisenant-WBTV)

SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) – The City of Salisbury and Downtown Salisbury, Inc., are looking for vendors for the College Night Out event happening at the Bell Tower Green Park in August.

Th event is scheduled for Thursday, August 18 from 5 to 9 p.m. During College Night Out, Downtown Salisbury welcomes and invites students from our local colleges (Livingstone, Hood Theological Seminary, Catawba and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College) and new Rowan-Salisbury School System teachers out for games, activities, food, networking and so much more.

This year College Night Out is accepting vendors. Organizers say it’s not only is this a great way to introduce college students and new educators to Downtown Salisbury shops, restaurants and entertainment, it is a fantastic opportunity to give them access to the many resources available from Downtown partners, such as options for banking, health, culture, arts, employment and volunteerism.

Anyone interested in setting up at College Night Out, please click on the following link, to complete the College Night Out Vendor Application form. Space is limited and on a first come, first serve basis. Applications are due by Friday, July 22nd. Staff will confirm vendor acceptance via email listed on the application form by Tuesday, July 26th.

Vendors are encouraged to bring any information regarding employment, internship or volunteerism opportunities.

Cost for Vendor space (Map of MSD attached) –

  • Sponsors – No Fee
  • Businesses outside of the Municipal Service District (MSD) – $75
  • Businesses inside the Municipal Service District (MSD) – $25

Businesses are welcome to split booth space with other businesses and the cost will remain the same as above.

Saturday kids’ parade open to public

By Elisabeth Strillacci

Parade Map Route
Graphic by Andy Mooney, Salisbury Post

SALISBURY — Local children are invited to join a kids’ parade through downtown Saturday morning starting at 10 a.m.

Bring bikes, tricycles, wagons and strollers decorated in red, white and blue for a celebration. Prizes will be awarded for best decorated and best dressed.

Participants, who are not required to register, will kick off the walk with the pledge of allegiance by the flag pole at city hall, and historical figures, such as Daniel Boone, will greet children along the way.

The parade is for all ages and even for pets, though children age 6 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. No motorized vehicles are permitted.

The parade will begin at the back parking lot of city hall, 217 S. Main St. and conclude at the corner of Fisher and South Main streets.

New Hallmark Movie Filming in Historic North Carolina City

Salisbury is providing the backdrop for a new feel-good film.

Meghan Overdeep, Senior Staff Writer
By Meghan Overdeep Updated June 29, 2022 (Southern Living)

Hallmark is currently filming a new movie in charming Salisbury, North Carolina.  

Production on the forthcoming drama called To Her With Love kicked off this week. It’s reportedly the first movie to film in the city known as the birthplace of Cheerwine since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. 

According to Queen City News, filming will take place across the city— inside Salisbury High School, in the downtown area, and on the 400 block of Fulton Street—through Friday. 

“I think that this being a Hallmark movie makes it more of a quaint feel, and so they wanted more of a quaint location. And I think Salisbury definitely serves that,” Salisbury communications director Linda McElroy told the local news outlet.

The 65-person production hired a few locals as production assistants, and even put out a casting call for extras. 

“When I heard the movie, it got all of us excited,” an extra named Paula told Queen City News. “Even the mail lady.”

Hallmark has yet to share details on the movie, but we’ll provide updates as we get them!

‘New dynamism to downtown’: Salisbury social district debuts Friday

By Ben Stansell

Map of the new downtown social district. Graphic by Andy Mooney, Salisbury Post.

SALISBURY — After months of discussion and preparation, Downtown Salisbury’s new social district will start on Friday.

The district will allow consumers to purchase alcoholic beverages from state-licensed businesses and restaurants and walk around a designated area downtown. Drinks must be carried in specially-marked cups. 

“We are optimistic about the impact of the (district) on downtown businesses and the community in general,” said Sada Stewart Troutman, director of Downtown Salisbury Inc. “As other communities who have implemented a social district have seen, we hope this is an opportunity to bring new dynamism to downtown.

The boundaries of the social district, which generally include several city blocks around the heart of downtown, will be marked with signs. A boundary map also is available on the Downtown Salisbury website, and accessed via the QR code on all social district signs. Drinks must be consumed within the social district and before entering any vehicle.

Bell Tower Green is included in the social district, but the park does play by slightly different rules. Visitors may stroll within the district Monday through Sunday between noon and midnight but within Bell Tower Green park on Monday through Sunday, as follows:

• Nov. 1 through March 1: between 5 p.m. and park closing

• March 2 through Oct. 31: between 6 p.m. and park closing

City staff has installed social district boundary signs in downtown. The social district will allow consumers to walk around certain parts of downtown with special-marked cups containing alcoholic beverages.

Picture of Social District Sign
City staff has installed social district boundary signs in downtown. The social district will allow consumers to walk around certain parts of downtown with special-marked cups containing alcoholic beverages. Ben Stansell/Salisbury Post

Alcoholic beverages may not be consumed or sold during and within the boundary of a public street festival, during a special event sponsored by the City of Salisbury, or within the boundary of Bell Tower Green park when the event is permitted and held per city ordinance. This does not prohibit the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages within Bell Tower Green park pursuant to a properly licensed and permitted event.

Downtown Salisbury Inc. has been leading the push to create the district since the state legislature last year passed a bill allowing for the districts in an effort to bring business back downtown after the COVID-19 pandemic. Kannapolis was quick to establish a social district of its own in the fall and other towns and cities have followed suit.

Stewart Troutman said the organization is “thrilled that Downtown Salisbury is able to have a social district, and see this as a privilege that will enhance the experience of our downtown for residents, visitors and business owners.”

The Salisbury City Council endorsed the district after Downtown Salisbury Inc. held several public input and education sessions with stakeholders and Salisbury residents.

“With the preparation we have done, we expect the (social district) to be a positive environment for all participants, and thank everyone in advance for working with Downtown Salisbury as we get this off the ground,” Stewart Troutman said.

There are 12 business currently signed on to participate in the district, including La Cava, Carpe Vinum 121, New Sarum Brewing, Sweet Meadow Cafe, Go Burrito, Salty Caper, Shug’s, Shuckin’ Shack, City Tavern, Bangkok Downtown, The Fish Bowl and Bottle and Can.

Other businesses will allow alcoholic drinks in their stores, but will not sell them. Participating businesses, including retailers that allow drinks into their stores, will feature a “Downtown Salisbury Social District” sticker at the door/window.

Stewart Troutman expects the list of participants to grow over time.

“We have new businesses in the pipeline who have already said they are excited to participate when they open, and some existing businesses who may join after they are able to educate staff or assess the operation of the district, so I do think more will begin to participate as time goes on,” she said.

Chris Ostle, co-owner of The Fish Bowl, said the bar is approaching the social district with caution. At least for the time being, Ostle said The Fish Bowl will only offer social district drinks on certain days.

Paul Bardinas, co-owner of Carpe Vinum 121, doesn’t expect the new social district to have a major impact on the fine-dining restaurant, but he does think it will “liven up downtown a bit” and provide a boost to other restaurants and bars. Bardinas said the district could prove to be “great for our community” by promoting more downtown foot traffic.

Violations of social district rules should be reported to the Salisbury Police Department at 911.

For more information, lists of participating businesses and rules and regulations, go to

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