Salem Alliance for Historic Preservation now has an office near downtown to assist in achieving its goal of restoring parts of downtown Salem.
“Our main goal is Operation Downtown, which is a historic restoration project fighting the 17 percent vacancy rate of our downtown area. By restoring these buildings, we hope to bring life back into the district, as well as economic and tourism development,” said Jacob Stotler, leader of the preservation group.
The group is working with the Community Foundation of the Ozarks to obtain a 501c3 status.
Almost 30 volunteers assisted in restoring the office, including painting and removal of old furniture. More volunteers are coming forward to assist with future projects.
The office is located at 301 North Main, across from Craig Plaza, on Highway 19 North. No set hours are posted yet, but the group hopes to have a volunteer staff scheduled soon.
Stotler, a 2019 graduate of Salem High School, created Save our School in 2017. The effort was to bring attention to the old middle school and seek repairs or projects to utilize the property.
Several events over the summer including historical tours brought over 1,000 people to the streets of Salem to share stories of the town’s history.
Upcoming events in the planning stages include a Halloween ghost tour Nov. 1, with effects and actors. An Old-Fashioned Downtown Christmas event is planned for Dec. 20, featuring vendors, food, and music. A downtown storefront decorating contest will also take place.
“We are here to fight against the senseless destruction and neglect of our historic buildings. These buildings foster our heritage and can easily be redeveloped for modern usage. We cannot continue to throw our historic facilities away,” said Stotler.
The office needs supplies of all types. To get involved, visit the office or follow the group on Facebook.