Salisbury moves to purchase Truitt Street Center site

New basketball court flooring is installed at the Truitt Street Community Center.

Salisbury officials are moving forward with the purchase of the Truitt Street Community Center property and agreed to advance $100,000 for it while waiting for a state grant.

On Monday night, City Council members gave preliminary approval to a budget amendment to appropriate the funds for the purchase of the property from Devreco so the sale can proceed.

The state money has already been approved by the Board of Public Works, but the city has yet to receive final confirmation, City Administrator Julia Glanz told City Council members during a Dec. 7 work session.

“Due to Covid, everything’s slowed down,” she said.

In the meantime, the city is paying rent and fees to Devreco, said Assistant City Administrator Andy Kitzrow. The city budgeted a $100,000 as its match for the purchase, but the monthly rent was not included in this year’s budget because it was thought the purchase would have taken place by now.

Kitzrow asked council members to use $100,000 from surplus funds in order to complete the sale until the state grant money comes through.

“Right now, it’s costing us $2,200 a month sitting on our hands,” he said. “We thought this would be an appropriate way to move forward.”

The city also has spent $50,000 on repairs and improvements.

The landlord is getting “anxious” to close the deal because there are others interested in the property, Kitzrow said.

The city moved into the former warehouse at 319 Truitt St. in 2018 to house programs that had been temporarily relocated when the nearby Calloway Street Gym was torn down the previous year.

Truitt Street offers services in the community through Chesapeake Health care, as well as activities for neighborhood children such as hip-hop dance and basketball.

The property was the first of four community centers planned for underserved neighborhoods by Mayor Jake Day. The city also is in the process of renovating a house on Newton Street for another community center to serve that neighborhood.

When it opens, the center will offer after-school programs geared at preventing destructive lifestyles, such as drug use, delinquency, violence and school failure, according to the city website.

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