Master Plan

2024 Strategies

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A place to experience history

Downtown Salisbury is a leader in historic preservation in the Piedmont, a place where residents and visitors experience over 250 years of history through architecture and creative interpretation.

  1. Strengthen connection to surrounding neighborhoods and support their continued development.
  2. Install historically inspired interpretive and informative public art and markers for historic tour routes.
  3. Publicize history through tours, marketing and products that brand the community.
  4. Advocate for adaptive reuse of buildings, such as the Empire Hotel.
  5. Organized themed weekend tour packages, including African American history and Salisbury in the Civil War.
  6. Encourage and support appropriate storytelling and interpretation of Salisbury History.
  7. Publicize the History Room and genealogy resources at Rowan County Public Library.
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A place to learn & to experience the arts

Downtown has a thriving and growing arts community including visual arts, public art, three local amateur theatres, a symphony orchestra, and a rising local music scene.

  1. Create more spaces for artists' galleries and lofts.
  2. Identify and encourage additional sites/opportunities for Public Art installations.
  3. Continue Buskers' Bash and incorporate local musicians into other regular events.
  4. Expand public art school programming in Downtown Salisbury.
  5. Establish outdoor public performance areas for formal and informal gatherings, artistic performances, and exhibition.
  6. Encourage cooperative efforts among Downtown institutions to create youth programs.
  7. Empower and support the Public Arts Commission to continue annual events and the development of new Downtown arts initiatives.
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A Place of Business

Downtown Salisbury is the largest, most diversified employment center in Rowan County and will continue to attract new jobs and investment.

  1. Continue the partnership between DSI, EDC, and the Chamber of Commerce to cooperatively recruit major employers.
  2. Continue to expand the Downtown Municipal Service District (DMSD) outward and include adequate amenities such as parks and pedestrian spaces.
  3. Continue to work on the Main Street Project, which will redesign Main Street to incorporate pedestrian-friendly and infrastructure improvements.
  4. Improve the business recruitment packet and update the 'How to Start a Business in Downtown Salisbury' Guidelines.
  5. Improve pedestrian safety between parking lots and destinations by adding lighting, signage and enhancing street crossings. 
  6. Utilize September 2019 parking study to identify and improve public parking opportunities. 
  7. Highlight and Promote downtown in the implementation of the regional marketing strategy as an accessible and strategic location within the surrounding region, connected by train and interstate.
  8. Create a targeting retail recruitment strategy, especially aimed at recruiting minority-owned businesses. 
  9. Encourage development of spaces for entrepreneurship and small businesses. 
  10. Explore and encourage live/work units. 
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A Place to Shop, Dine, & Play

Downtown Salisbury is a vibrant retail, dining, and entertainment center for residents and visitors alike. Our success is based on providing a unique collection of businesses that offer quality goods and superior personal service in a comfortable pedestrian environment and authentic historic setting.

  1. Encourage customer-friendly, consistent business hours in retail stores and restaurants. 
  2. Increase short-term parking availability through enforcement and signage.
  3. Promote Downtown as a thriving, visitor-friendly destination. 
  4. Expand well-defined entrances with signage to Downtown to inform pedestrians and motorists.
  5. Work with City staff in installing downtown dumpsters and more opportunities for outdoor dining.
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A place to gather as a community

Downtown Salisbury is the heart of Salisbury and Rowan County, the place where people of all ages gather as a community to celebrate their shared history, culture, and values. Downtown will retain its role as the center for community, activities, entertainment, and events.

  1. Create a large indoor assembly space Downtown.
  2. Continue to partner with Parks and Recreation and Public Works to maintain, program, and promote Bell Tower Green. 
  3. Increase college participation & student involvement in all programs and activities. 
  4. Continue to monitor and develop Downtown Salisbury Social District so it is most beneficial to the community. 
  5. Improve accessibility to downtown to the broader community by improving greenways, bike lanes, and sidewalks and building a multimodal transit center.


North Carolina Map

Walkability & Bikeability

The Downtown Salisbury Walkscore of 76 is well-above average in Downtown Salisbury. Many of the goals listed at the top of this document aim to encourage residents and visitors to explore Downtown Salisbury on foot or bike, and continue to develop infrastructure to safely support pedestrian and biker activities.

Retail Opportunities

Within the 5-mile radius, opportunities were seen in appliances, women's clothing, clothing and shoe business categories. At the 20-minute drive time measurement, furniture, appliances, electronics, women's clothing, show and musical instrument opportunities were seen.

Many categories saw retail surpluses. As was noted above, Salisbury generates almost 70% of the Rowan County annual sales tax revenue. It being the largest community the county as well as its county seat provides a significant number of people entering the downtown daily.

Midlife Constants

Midlife Constants residents are seniors, at or approaching retirement, with below average labor force participation and above average net worth. Although located in predominantly metropolitan areas, they live outside the central cities, in smaller communities. Their lifestyle is more country than urban. They are generous, but not spendthrifts.

Total Households (U.S.): 3,068,400
Average Household Size: 2.31
Median Age: 47.0
Average HH Income: $53,200

Southern Satellites

Southern Satellites is the second largest market found in rural settlements but within metropolitan areas located primarily in the South. This market is typically slightly older, settled married-couple families, who own their homes. Two-thirds of the homes are single-family structures; almost a third are mobile homes. Median household income and home value are below average. Workers are employed in a variety of industries, such as manufacturing, health care, retail trade, and construction, with higher proportions in mining and agriculture than the US. Residents enjoy country living, preferring outdoor activities and DIY home projects.

Total Households (U.S.): 3,856,800
Average Household Size: 2.67
Median Age: 40.3
Average HH Income: $47,800

Old & Newcomers

This market features singles' lifestyles, on a budget. The focus is more on convenience than consumerism, economy over acquisition.
Old and Newcomers is composed of neighborhoods in transition, populated by renters who are just beginning their careers or retiring. Some are still in college; some are taking adult education classes. They support charity causes and are environmentally conscious. Age is not always obvious from their choices.

Total Households (U.S.): 2,859,200
Average Household Size: 2.12
Median Age: 39.4
Average HH Income: $44,900

Demographic data prepared by the NC Main Street & Rural Planning Center on August of 2022. Tapestry Segmentation identified by ESRI On-Line Business Analyst. The information provided reflects the U.S. characteristics. The table shows the top three segments for each category with brief descriptions. Detailed descriptions are obtained by going to the raw ESRI data's Tapestry information and clicking on each segment for the specific drive times. Visit

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