BERLIN – Renovations at the former Mid Atlantic Pain Medicine building — set to become an art gallery — are expected to begin this month.
Members of the town’s historic district commission gave Salisbury residents Foster and Lisa Schoch approval to begin much of the exterior work they have planned for the building at 6 S. Main St. on Wednesday. The commission will meet with the couple again next Wednesday to discuss lighting and landscaping at the property.
The Schochs admitted there was a lot of work ahead of them but said they were excited to improve the building.
“It certainly is a diamond in the rough,” Lisa Schoch said. “We’re proposing to bring it back to some of its glory days.”
She said she and her husband had long been art lovers and when they saw the location on Main Street become available they thought it would be the ideal place for a gallery.
“We’ve enjoyed art collecting for a long time,” Schoch said. “We thought it would be a dream come true to share that with the community.”
Carol Rose, chair of the commission, expressed concern over the steel door the Schochs proposed for the building.
“We certainly can’t have anything that looks like steel,” she said.
Foster Schoch assured her it would not look steel but would fit in with the historic atmosphere. Commission member Mary Moore said she wasn’t concerned about the door.
“It’s not like it’s right on the sidewalk,” she said.
Moore did, however, have concerns about the potted plants the Schochs proposed for the front of the property. While she liked the idea of planters, she suggested more substantial ones than the Schochs proposed.
“I’d love to see something more in keeping with the historic district,” she said.
She suggested the couple look at the planters in front of Nest. “They’re substantial and they catch my eye,” Moore said.
Commission member Joel Todd questioned the need for the building’s existing portico. Foster Schoch said that while he didn’t like it either, he was trying to get the gallery open quickly, in time for the summer season.
“I don’t think anyone here likes that portico,” he said. “The season’s coming up, if I do major renovations like that, I’m in July before we get to day one.”
Several commission members were critical of the light fixtures the couple proposed for the building. Rose, who said she remembered the building from when it was a filling station in her youth, said the lights didn’t fit the historic district.
“It’s the style,” she said. “It does not fit.”
Todd added that the proposed backlighting behind the building’s sign was a bit too modern as well. He suggested the Schochs drive around town at night to see what sort of lighting other businesses in the historic district used.
Commission members advised the couple to select new light fixtures and reconsider the planters they wanted to see in front of the building and to return to the commission with those items next week. The Schochs were given approval for all of the other exterior changes they approved.