Downtown Plan

Help Shape the Future of Downtown Salem

Downtown Salem RenderingView the Comprehensive Plan (PDF)

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January 2020

College Avenue
The first phase of Salem's Downtown Plan is finally underway. After years of citizen-driven planning and months of preparation, the Downtown Streetscape transformation is set to unfold. The initial work is taking place on College Avenue and this phase of the project is expected to last until May. Once this phase is complete, work will shift to the Broad and Main area near the Farmers Market. Because this is an ongoing construction project, pedestrian and vehicle traffic will be occasionally interrupted. Thanks in advance for your patience.

RC-Street Rendering

January 2017

Request for Proposal Number 2017-014 and Development of Various City Properties
The City of Salem, Virginia, is requesting sealed proposals from qualified developers interested in presenting designs for a mixed-use development on property located at 8 W Main Street in Salem, VA, commonly known as the West Salem Body Shop, and/or in the airspace above other various city-owned properties located in the downtown area.

Please note the following additional documents related to this Request for Proposal:

July 2016

Learn About the Great Changes Coming to Downtown Salem!
Since adopting the Downtown Plan in January, city staff has been hard at work lining up funding and implementing the strategies the public developed during the planning process for Downtown Salem.

A Public Open House will be held on Thursday, August 18th, from 4 to 7 pm at the Salem Museum. Exhibits about the process will be available for public display including concepts for the new streetscape downtown, a new Sign Ordinance, changes to parking, information about new businesses, new events in downtown, and beautification efforts. Staff will also be available to explain and answer questions.

Come see the future of Downtown Salem!

November 2015

The first draft of the Downtown Plan is now available on the City of Salem's website for public review and comment. During the past 11 months, city staff and a number of citizens have worked side-by-side to get the plan to this stage.

"This plan is about taking control of the story of our community," says Kevin Boggess, Salem City Manager. "We will make certain that Downtown Salem has a bright future ahead of it, and that it will be the type of downtown that Salem deserves."

This citizen-driven process officially kicked-off with a public open house on January 20. Shortly thereafter, Salem launched the website to promote the planning process and to keep the public informed. A Downtown Retail Survey also was mailed to every utility customer in Salem and more than 3,400 comments were received about Downtown Salem. In addition, a list of stakeholder groups was established and city staff consulted with the individuals in these groups to ensure that their voices were heard. This wealth of information was then processed into the Themes, Goals, and Strategies that now form the body of the plan.

"I'm personally very excited about this plan," says Bob Rotanz, owner of long-time downtown business Mac and Bob's. "It's very thorough and addresses all the issues, and I'm looking forward to implementing our game plan. This is going to help our image, and help the city, and I would like to personally volunteer to assist in any way I can."

A second Public Open House will be held on Tuesday, November 17, from 5:30-7:30 pm at the Salem Museum, located at 801 East Main Street, near Longwood Park. Information on the plan will be available for review and staff will be on hand to accept public comments. The draft is also available online at

"This plan provides a road map for Salem's downtown future, and I would like to sincerely thank the business leaders and members of our community who have played such a large role in making it happen," says Boggess.

September 2015

Exhibits and the first draft of the City of Salem's Downtown Plan will be on display for public comment at the Salem Museum on November 17 from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm.

For questions, please call Benjamin W. Tripp at 540-375-3007.

June 24, 2015

Are You a Business Owner in or near Downtown Salem? Help Salem Complete Our Business Inventory Survey!
This short survey is designed to collect data about the real estate market downtown and is a required part of the CDBG Planning Grant process. Your participation will help us create a better downtown, and secure funding to make it a reality. All answers will be kept confidential, and will only be used as part of the planning process.

June 2015

The City of Salem has been awarded a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Planning Grant by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development to help fund the effort to create a plan for our downtown.

Activities to be completed under this grant include an initial public meeting (held in January 2015), ongoing Advisory Committee meetings, Physical Inventory Surveys of downtown property and buildings, a Business Inventory Survey, Compilation of a Business Assistance/Resource Providers Inventory, and coordination with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (DHR). Future Planning Grant and Community Improvement Grant funding depends, in part, on the completion of these activities.

For questions, please call Benjamin W. Tripp at 540-375-3007.

April 2015

The City of Salem has begun the process of creating a Downtown Plan for the central business district. The goal of this process is to make certain that our downtown continues to be an outstanding business community for residents and guests, as well as a center of regional economic activity. Salem has a great downtown, but we would like to know what we can do to make it even better.

Development of the plan will occur throughout the remainder of this year. During this period we will hold a series of public meetings, as well as meetings with smaller focus groups. This webpage will be updated with new information about the process as it becomes available.

You can give us your ideas about downtown by filling out our short online survey which is linked below. Paper copies are also available at the Salem Public Library and in the office of Planning and Development in City Hall.

By working together we can build on our wonderful Downtown and ensure that is has a bright future as the center of our community.

If you have questions or would like to discuss something with us directly, please do not hesitate to email us or call 540-375-3007.

Project Timeline

  • Fall 2014 - First Organizational Meeting of the Advisory Committee
  • January 2015 - First Public Meeting and Opportunity to Receive Citizen Input
  • Spring 2015 - Survey built environment. Stakeholder Interviews
  • Summer 2015 - Process Information and Write Plan
  • Fall 2015 - Present Draft Plan to the Public
  • Fall 2015 - Final Revisions to Plan
  • January 2016 - Plan Presented to City Council