City council supports flood recovery application

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The Wilson City Council on Thursday approved an assistance plan for owners of 10 properties flooded during Hurricane Matthew.

Land Development Manager Janet Holland said eight residents are interested in a buyout of their flooded properties, which if approved, would lead to the demolition of the existing property and bar future development on the lot. Two other residents have applied for financial assistance to elevate their homes beyond the flood level.

Also included in the action was a grant application to cover purchasing flood markers to replace several that have gone missing since Hurricane Floyd and a generator for the pump station at Hominy Creek.

During the 7 p.m. meeting, officials approved a nearly $400,000 contract to build and replace a wrecked fire truck. Following a recognition of city employees named Shining Stars for actions above their duties and an Arbor Day proclamation, Planning and Community Revitalization Director Kimberly Van Dyk presented an update on the downtown revitalization efforts.

From less than $1 million in public and private investments during fiscal year 2009-10, Van Dyk said investment grew to nearly $10 million in fiscal year 2015-16. Despite naysayers disbelieving the market for downtown homes, she said there will be at least 200 people living in the area by the end of 2018. There have been more than 200 events in downtown in the last 18 months, which has brought at least 300,000 people to the area.

“People also said building a whirligig park wouldn’t change things downtown, but most of the progress has come as a result of the whirligig project,” Van Dyk said. “That has been a catalyst for a lot of downtown development, so we say ‘we beg to differ.’”

bhandgraaf@wilsontimes.com | 265-7821