Salisbury Design Initiative Underway

SALISBURY — The Envision Salisbury program is in full swing and a student-driven design plan is expected by next fall.

Community enthusiasm for the project is running high, according to the City Council. Envision seeks fresh ways to revitalize downtown architecture.

Envision represents a partnership between the University of Maryland (UMD) and the city of Salisbury. Several students from the school’s architecture program have been working since October to brainstorm ways to improve city infrastructure and design, especially downtown.

“There was a focus on several districts including downtown, the plaza up to Route 50, as well as the riverfront, the linkage to the park,” said Council President Jake Day.

The project came about through Day, who is an alumnus of UMD’s architecture program. More than 50 students and their professors have been studying Salisbury searching for ways to improve the design elements of the city.

“The work looked at a number of areas throughout the core of the city, proposed infrastructural improvements, proposed design standards,” said Day. “There were specific architectural interventions proposed, there were specific transportation infrastructure interventions proposed.”

Students have incorporated existing elements such as the city comprehensive plan and the hiker-biker master plan into their designs. It will all be used to influence the final downtown master plan.

Students are also going to be drawing on the community during the process. There have already been several workshops where drafts were available for consideration. Several councilmembers noted that the support the public is showing Envision Salisbury seems to be growing rapidly.

“Their projects, at this point, really became refined. There was a lot of detail in the architectural and in the planning work,” Day said. “Some of the transportation and infrastructural proposals were still sort of general, but the planning and the architecture and even the conditions … were really refined. I was really impressed with the work. I think we’ve got an incredible body of work before us.”

The next step in the process will be for the city to work with the two students UMD has chosen to represent the project and combine their vision with what the community is seeking. A draft master plan will be created and then brought back for additional public input over the summer.