City of Salisbury unveils 2023-27 Capital Improvement Plan

SALISBURY, Md. – Monday afternoon, the City of Salisbury debuted its 2023-2027 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP).

Prioritizing Public Safety

One of the big ticket items is public safety. The city’s computer-aided dispatch system will be updated. “That will speed up responses, make things easier, and also have records of all the calls,” said City Council President Jack Heath.

In 2019, the Salisbury Police Department was hit with a ransomware attack. The hack caused major issues for law enforcement, and renewed a sense of urgency to improve the computer systems it relies on. “It was a loop hole – a sort of back channel – created through that system, which is kind of an archaic piece of software that needed to be replaced, and now we’re getting around to it,” said Mayor Jake Day.

Plus, a new ladder truck will be purchased for the Salisbury Fire Department. Mayor Day says this is essential, as the fire department answers more than a thousand calls for service per month. “Hugely expensive, but also critical. We have Tower 16’s two ladder trucks, and they’re very expensive. But, they have to be replaced. We have to keep equipment in service,” he said.

Revamping Roads

The CIP also allows for major investments in street maintenance and reconstruction. Heath says the city uses a five tier ranking system to determine which roads need immediate attention. “We’ve taken care of a lot of the fives, which are the worst streets. But, we still have a long way to go. So, part of the money is going to resurface some of the streets that we have, so they don’t get to the bad to severe conditions,” he said.

Those improvements will be made with the use of advanced technology. “In 2017, we depoliticized paving in Salisbury, which means we took it away from elected officials, and created a program based on infrared scanning. This year we’re funding a new infrared scanning of the surfaces,” said Mayor Day.

Planning For Parks

Meanwhile, the CIP allows for significant funding toward building and improving public parks. Heath says building the Spine Rail Trail and North Prong Park are a major goal for the City. “Now we’re in a position where we can maintain the infrastructure, and start doing some of the things in the Master Plan,” said Heath.

The Spine Rail Trail will be a gamechanger for the City, according to Mayor Day. This trail is expected to connect all of Salisbury via a pedestrian and cycle-friendly path from Naylor Mill Park to Fruitland. “It will change Salisbury forever when it’s built out. It takes our most forgotten, back of house space – the rail line – North South from Delmar to Fruitland, and turns it into a jewel,” said Mayor Day. “Eventually, we want sort of this cross pattern of Salisbury not just to be highways, but also to be these off-road, beautiful park spaces.”

Right now, the City is in the process of acquiring parcels of land that will become North Prong Park. Mayor Day says he and other officials are currently working with the Maryland Department of the Environment and EPA on soil remediation for the park.

In addition to having a playground and recreation area, the park will double as a flood mitigation area. “North Prong, which is sort of this abandoned industrial district, has this potential to be a real gem in our crown,” said Mayor Day. “It also would be a huge investment – probably the biggest investment ever – into park space on the West side.”

Even with these big projects on the horizon, neighborhood parks aren’t being forgotten. The CIP also includes funding to improve Lake Street, Doverdale, and Waterside parks. “If you look at some of the playgrounds in the area, they need an upgrade. Now is our opportunity to do that,” said Heath.

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