WILSON’S LOCAL PRINT AND DIGITAL COMMUNITY INSTITUTION SINCE 1896

Paint-A-Hydrant application deadline nears

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Pop culture, whirligigs and nature were just a few of the themes captured for the inaugural Paint-A-Hydrant program, and organizers are hoping the second year brings an equally eclectic mix to hydrants throughout historic downtown Wilson.

Ashley Stott — who was the hydrant coordinator for the city before passing away last summer in connection with a medical issue — pitched the idea and excitement for the project spread quickly. Twelve teams submitted designs for a hydrant, then spent hours on May 20 bringing their concepts to life.

Among the teams was Purple Porch Properties co-owner Wendy Moore and her friend Nichelle Shuck. The duo settled on the idea of raising awareness about spaying and neutering stray cats in her neighborhood with a colorful design on a hydrant on Hill Street near Green Street.

“I live in the neighborhood on Hill Street and there are a lot of stray and feral cats. I’ve spayed and neutered over 30, but I wanted to raise awareness about these cats,” Moore said. “It was kind of a community awareness project, but in a fun and artsy way.”

Moore said she’s eager to develop a colorful design for another hydrant in her neighborhood for this year’s event on June 2. The what and the where are still in the works, though.

Applications are available at www.historicdowntownwilson.com/paint-a-hydrant/ and should be submitted by May 24. A group of representatives from Wilson Downtown Development, the Arts Council of Wilson, the city’s hydrant crew and fire department will review the submissions and approve the designs. Teams will bring their concepts to life during the Takin’ It To The Streets event on June 2, which also will include the unveiling of three new Artsy Alleys in downtown.

There is a $100 fee to sponsor the hydrant with the proceeds going toward the Fight for Me Foundation, which was founded this month to help Wilson County firefighters and their families overcome financial burdens related to line-of-duty injuries, illnesses and layoffs.

“This is a great program because it invites regular citizens to be active participants in our historic downtown. You don’t need to be a professional or an artist to give back. This program invites everyone to take ownership and have pride in where we live,” Moore said. “There is a neighbor who lives several streets back and he just commented not too long ago about how the hydrant we painted always brings a smile to his face when he walks by.”

Business on the rise

Since January, the Wilson Economic Development Council has helped two industries pick Wilson to locate, which will help create 91 new jobs and bring $37 million in investment to the community. Those industries also are expected to add another 350 indirect jobs locally. Council staff also is working to help 32 other industries pick Wilson to expand.

According to the National Federation of Independent Business Research Foundation, the Small Business Optimism Index in April increased for the 17th consecutive month, which reflects improved profits for small businesses.

“Never in the history of this survey have we seen profit trends so high,” NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan said in a press release, noting April was the highest in 45 years. “The optimism small business owners have about th economy is turning into new job creation, increased wages and benefits and investment.”

The release states capital outlay rose three points in April to 61 percent with 43 percent investing in new equipment and 27 percent buying new business vehicles. Twenty-nine percent of small businesses are planning capital investments in the next few months.

“There is no question that small business is booming,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Consumer spending, the new tax law and lower regulatory barriers are all supporting the surge in optimism across all small business industry sectors.”

The Wilson Chamber of Commerce is an excellent resource for local businesses of all sizes, but in honor of Small Business Month, the chamber has a variety of celebratory and educational events planned. More details are available at www.wilsonncchamber.com/.

Extra! Extra!

Denny’s is launching a new initiative at restaurants throughout the region that kicks off today. Every Wednesday will be senior day with elderly customers getting 20 percent off from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Wilson eatery is open 24 hours a day at 2806 Raleigh Road Parkway. Call 252-206-1911 for more information.

Got an idea for news to include in next week’s Main Street Minute? Don’t hesitate to reach out to me at 252-265-7821 or bhandgraaf@wilsontimes.com.

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