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The Wilson City Council is again considering a bond to pay for street repairs.
The idea resurfaced at the tail end of a routine meeting Thursday when Councilman Donald Evans said it’s past time to spend money on city streets.
“We have all this downtown revitalization, but you have to drive over a washboard to get into town,” Evans said.
Councilman James Johnson said the streets are worse now than when the council last discussed a street bond.
The council tossed around the idea of a $10 million bond a few years ago to help with street maintenance, but nothing came of it, according to archived news reports.
Evans said the city has around 230 miles of roads, many of which are good, but the main roads are the worst due to traffic volume and old and deteriorating infrastructure beneath the streets.
“I want you all to go ride down Kenan Street,” Evans said.
Evans said pushing for street improvements fulfills a 2017 campaign promise he made during his successful reelection bid.
On Thursday, Evans said if the city is going to continue to call for downtown renovation, then something needs to be done with the streets.
“I’ve given you a challenge,” Evans told city staff.
Public Works Director Bill Bass said progress is being made on U.S. 301, which is being improved via federal TIGER Grant funds.
Councilman Logan Liles said he’s heard the 2020 census should show significant growth in Wilson, which could pave the way for more funding.
City Manager Grant Goings said all federal and state disbursements are based on census data, but people have to fill out the questionnaire.
Councilman Derrick Creech said Wilson is growing while other area municipalities are losing population. He said Wilson has a lot of positive things happening.
“When I’m out and about I don’t hesitate to say, ‘I’m from Wilson,’” Creech said.
Earlier in the meeting, Mayor Bruce Rose presented a plaque of appreciation from the city of Danville, Virginia, to Wilson Energy employees for their help last year restoring power after Hurricane Michael.
Evans said he spoke to the mayor of Danville and he said Wilson Energy trucks rolling into town after the storm was a beautiful sight.
“You men go beyond the call of duty,” Evans said. “You don’t have to go, but you go.”
City Energy Director Rich Worsinger said Wilson has received help after major storms, so it’s fitting Wilson helps other cities in times of need. When the city photographer took a picture of the utility workers, Worsinger stepped to the back of the group, saying the employees who went and made a difference should be front and center in the photograph.