Wilson seeks funding for signs to local attractions

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City officials approved a grant application for federal funding Thursday that would help residents and visitors alike find destinations such as the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park, the Oliver Nestus Freeman Roundhouse Museum and more.

“The USDA helped fund part of the pavilion for the Whirligig Park and we developed a good working relationship with them. We don’t usually qualify for a lot of these USDA grants because we are too large of a community, however, they have a pot of money right now that we can qualify for, so they asked us to apply for it,” said Kimberly Van Dyk, Wilson planning and community revitalization director. “The grant would be used for wayfinding signs to help visitors and residents find their way around Wilson, including the park.”
The city completed a wayfinding sign plan in 2016 with a total program implementation cost of $286,750. Van Dyk said the project has been included in the capital improvement plan recommendation for several years, but it has been cut by the department before making it to the budget recommended to the Wilson City Council by City Manager Grant Goings.

Council members approved the grant application Thursday night, but the city won’t find out whether the $100,000 request is approved until June. It is unclear how long it would take to implement if the grant is received and the match from city funds is granted.

Other action at the Wilson City Council meeting included a $750,000 application for the Community Development Block Grant neighborhood revitalization program grant. Kelly Vick, president and CEO of the Wilson Housing Authority, said the county was awarded $1 million in a CDBG disaster recovery grant through N.C. Emergency Management to help with building 30 public housing units to replace ones flooded during Hurricane Matthew.

When asked by Councilman A.P. Coleman what chance Vick estimated Wilson had of receiving the revitalization grant, Vick said he feels very confident.

Other items approved by the city council included demolition orders for several dilapidated residential and commercial properties, a variety of changes to the unified development ordinance and the donation of an undeveloped lot on Beth Street near the city’s wastewater treatment plant.