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Salem council appropriates funds for Main Street improvements, business grant program

Salem council appropriates funds for Main Street improvements, business grant program


Construction is set to begin near the intersection of Broad and Main Streets as part of Salem’s latest streetscape improvement project.

The Salem City Council accepted an additional $310,734 in federal funding for the project. The new grant requires local funds totaling more than $200,000, which will be paid with a community development block grant, according to city documents.

More than $600,000 was put toward the project in 2018 from federal grants and local matches. The funding will be used on streetscape and intersection improvements from the west side of the intersection at Broad Street and East Main Street to the east side of White Oak Alley.

Improvements include wider sidewalks, renovated crosswalks, new lighting and landscaping.

The project is the latest for Salem’s downtown revitalization and streetscape improvements. City Manager Jay Taliaferro said the project on East Main Street between Thompson Memorial Drive and Brand Avenue is nearing completion. Construction brought sidewalks, bike lanes and turn lanes to the busy corridor.

Another section from Clay Street to Burwell Street is also nearing completion, Taliaferro said, with brick sidewalks, decorative street lamps, new landscaping and sidewalk bump-outs for benches and outdoor dining space.

In other business, city councilman Jim Wallace said Salem will be putting another $500,000 of its CARES Act money to its small business assistance grant program. The first allocation of money has run out and the economic development authority is working on criteria for the next round of funding.

The city council also approved hazard pay and gratitude bonuses similar to Roanoke County’s program.

The council agreed to pay $2,000 of hazard pay to full-time public safety employees. Salem officials also agreed to give $1,000 to full-time, regular employees and are determining an amount for part-time employees.

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Alison Graham covers Roanoke County and Salem news. She’s originally from Indianapolis and a graduate of Indiana University.

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