Salisbury–The Salisbury City Council has voted unanimously in favor of a lease agreement for 115 South Division St., the former Salisbury Fire Department Headquarters in Downtown Salisbury.
Since being converted into office space for the previous tenant, the three-story building will house the City’s Administrative suite, City Clerk, Department of Arts, Business, and Culture to include the Downtown Visitor Center, and City Council chambers. These offices will move from their current locations at 125 North Division St. and 110 North Division St. in the coming months.
The building, built in 1928, housed the Salisbury Fire Department until 2008. The Department underwent many historic changes during this time, including the introduction of EMS service in 1939, receiving its first fully enclosed fire engine in 1988, and volunteer and career staffing growth. The Salisbury Fire Department responded to many notable fires from this station, including the 1977 fire at the Wicomico County Youth and Civic Center and the 1975 fire at Feldman’s Department Store.
The building’s unique location in Downtown Salisbury is central to key cultural spaces, including the Riverwalk Amphitheater, Riverwalk Games Park, Labyrinth, and Unity Square (est. late 2023), and will act as a touchdown and deployment point for events crews, performers, and Field Operations staff during Downtown events like the Maryland Folk Festival, Riverfest, 3rd Friday, and more.
“As we continue to grow our City’s core and everything it has to offer–whether that is one of our flourishing events, many community gathering spaces, or shopping and dining opportunities–it’s more important than ever for our offices to be central to every part of that activity,” said Director of Arts, Business, and Culture Allen Swiger. “We’re already developing new public programming and community events based right out of this incredible building.”
A portion of the first floor of the building will house City Council Chambers, a large room which will transform into community flex space with the capability to expand to the parking lot and street for events and other medium-scale community gatherings. More information on how to utilize this community space will be forthcoming.
“This exciting move will not only allow us to develop our events team and Downtown presence, but will more importantly allow necessary expansion within suites in the Government Office Building at 125 North Division Street,” said Mayor Jack Heath. “The current Government Office Building has been the City’s main Administrative building since it was built in the 1970’s, and a lot about our operations has changed since then. Through this move, each department in the Government Office Building will get a much needed–and long overdue–expansion, with upgrades to improve workspace and maximize productivity.”
This lease is possible using funds that were originally planned for a new Administrative Building at the Field Operations Campus. Due to rising costs of building materials making construction of a new building financially irresponsible, City leadership had the opportunity to reevaluate the utilization of those funds. Improvements are underway at Field Operations to rehabilitate a number of buildings to ensure a continued focus of all employees across the organization.
The City is not renewing its lease at 110 North Division St., currently the Downtown Visitor Center.