The City of Salisbury announced Friday that construction on the long-awaited Unity Square is set to begin, creating a community gathering space not yet seen on the Eastern Shore locale.
Unity Square will serve as a brand-new space for the community to hold events, play games, and enjoy seasonal gatherings, like the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony, Maryland Folk Festival, 3rd Fridays, Hops on the River, and more.
“This new space is going to revolutionize what is possible for our many Downtown visitors, businesses, and residents. Unity Square is something that folks have been looking for a long time, and we’re excited to see it finally come to fruition," said Allen Swiger, director of Arts, Business, and Culture for the city.
Beginning Monday, June 5, the eastern section of Lot 1, closest to the parking garage, will be permanently closed to the public.
The western section, which is designated for permit parking only, will remain open. 2-hour free parking will be offered in the Downtown Parking Garage on Circle Avenue. For those visiting Downtown Salisbury, other lots remain available for public parking.
Designed by Baltimore-based firm Design Collective, Unity Square will feature an interactive fountain, play area, flexible lawn space with seating, sculpture and public art, a reading garden, and a new flush street to connect the space with the existing food truck pad and parking garage. Development will be led by local developers Harkins Builders.
Unity Square, first proposed to City Council in 2019, is a central component to the 2015-2035 Downtown Master Plan.
Created in 2014 with the input of over 2,500 individuals in a collaborative, democratic planning process, the Downtown Master Plan outlines recommended developments to neighborhoods, buildings, streets, community spaces, and more. Some form of a central community gathering space has been recommended in Downtown Master Plans since 1965.
According to a statement by the city, a public groundbreaking ceremony will be announced in the coming weeks.
“There is no doubt that Unity Square will change the landscape of Downtown Salisbury, and that is exactly its purpose,” said Mayor Jack Heath. “Not only is this something that doesn’t exist Downtown, but it’s something that doesn’t exist in our city. Unity Square is part of a much bigger picture of Salisbury, one that emphasizes community, wellness, and togetherness.”
A parking lot downtown next to the library and parking garage will be changed into Unity Square Sept. 21, 2022, in Salisbury, Maryland.
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