Our Opinion: City staff, Rotarians earn recognition for making Wilson shine

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THUMBS UP to the city of Wilson, which is encouraging residential rainwater collection by buying rain barrels in bulk and selling them to Wilson residents for less than half the retail price.

The city is purchasing 55-gallon Epoch rain barrels, which sell for $189 each, and Wilsonians will be able to buy them from the city for $65 or $75 depending on the total number of barrels ordered. Any city or county resident can order a barrel and the cost will be added to residents’ utility bills.

Collecting rainwater “helps reduce the amount of erosion and contamination in our streams while alleviating the pressure on our stormwater pipes,” stormwater compliance specialist Noah Parsons told Times reporter Brie Handgraaf.

A spigot on the rain barrels allows residents to connect their garden hoses and use the reclaimed water to irrigate lawns and gardens. That can reduce reliance on treated water for outdoor, non-drinking uses, lowering customers’ utility bills.

City officials are encouraging conservation and helping to save residents money. That’s a win-win, and we applaud Wilson leaders for this smart, effective program. To order a barrel, call Noah Parsons at 252-296-3305.

THUMBS UP to the Rotary Club of Greater Wilson, whose $100,000 contribution bought more than naming rights to the former Cavalier Park.

As city leaders explained at a dedication ceremony for the new facility on Monday, that six-figure pledge made the entire project possible.

Wilson Parks and Recreation Director David Lee said the club’s investment helped secure a $375,000 grant from the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund. The city picked up the remaining $275,000 tab, but without the Rotary Club’s donation, either the project would have been scaled down or Wilson taxpayers would have been on the hook for nearly a half-million dollars more.

“The Rotary Club works really hard to raise money and they work hard to distribute that money to causes that will make a meaningful impact in the community,” City Manager Grant Goings said during the park dedication. “I can think of nothing better than this park and I hope you’re proud to have your name on it.”

Rotary Park features two new multipurpose fields, a playground shelter, a resurfaced walking track and pickleball courts. Lee called the facility “another gem in our ever-improving park system.”

A public-private partnership made it all possible. The Rotary Club of Greater Wilson made a substantial investment in city residents’ quality of life, and we’re grateful for this group of community leaders stepping up to the plate to bring more shared amenities to our growing and thriving city.

THUMBS UP to the Wilson Police Department for keeping residents informed of crime trends and threats to public safety in their neighborhoods.

Police held a community meeting on Thursday to spread the word about a rash of break-ins in Wilson’s Westwood subdivision.

Department spokesman Sgt. Steve Stroud told the Times that officers responded to five burglaries and one attempted burglary in Westwood since April 1. Culprits have made off with a television, jewelry, a leaf blower and cash.

Wilson County residents work hard for what they own and don’t deserve to be deprived of their property through criminal acts. Thieves jeopardize residents’ safety and their own when they break into occupied homes, whose owners and lawful residents are justified in fearing for their lives and can use deadly force to defend their homes from intruders.

By sharing information about the cases, police kept residents aware of the threat and encouraged them to prevent being victimized. That’s the kind of proactive police work that protects property and can even save lives.

THUMBS UP to the call for unity and voluntarism made during Thursday’s National Day of Prayer observance on the Wilson County Courthouse steps.

Mayor Bruce Rose has organized the ceremony for many years, bringing city and county residents of various backgrounds, faiths and denominations together to join in prayer for the nation, state and community. Colin Pone, a small-group leader at Peace Church, encouraged residents to take responsibility for making our slice of eastern North Carolina a better place for all its inhabitants.

“We have to hold ourselves accountable for the state of Wilson,” Pone said. “We’ve all probably driven by areas of Wilson saying, ‘It is a shame they let that get run down,’” he said. “We say ‘they, they, they,’ but what if we change that to ‘we?’ Say ‘How did we let that run down?’ or ‘We need to do something about that area.’”

We agree, and we echo that call to action, joining our neighbors in prayer for a brighter future.