News Classified

WDCC to spend more on physical improvements in coming year

Wilson Downtown Development Corp. will spend more money on "brick and mortar" special projects next fiscal year. At a Tuesday WDDC board meeting, the board approved the 2005-2006 budget. The new budget includes $30,000 more in special projects, bringing that fund to $150,000 in the new budget.

In the current budget, special projects are paying for the Coon Annex purchase, $30,000 toward improving the county's new parking lot on Nash Street, and part of the "wayfinding program," which is designed to make downtown more pedestrian-friendly with crosswalks and signs, said Kathy Bethune, WDDC executive director.

Special projects next fiscal year will finish the wayfinding program and be available for future projects, she said.

Incentive grants remain at $50,000. WDDC gives downtown businesses grants such as rent incentive grants and facade grants.

WDDC gets its $76,880 administrative revenue from the city and the county.

The city of Wilson gives the group $50,000 a year, and Wilson County gives them $26,880 annually.

Operations revenue comes from a taxes paid by businesses located in the Municipal Tax District. The downtown tax money adds up to about $75,000 a year.

The group also has about $216,516 in its balance fund as of the end of the last fiscal year.

In other business, demolition of the Coon Annex will begin in a couple weeks, after deeds are transferred and the asbestos abatement is done, reported Leigh Ann Braswell, the city's community development coordinator.

Wilson Downtown Properties, an arm of WDDC, is buying the building for demolition. WDDC has allocated $55,000 for the purchase $50,000 for the annex and $5,000 for closing costs. The city will pay for the demolition, and the county has waived landfill tipping fees.

Located beside the annex, the Sesquicentennial Park "will take shape this spring," said Charles Pittman, deputy city manager.

Across the street from the park, clearing of the demolished Kencraft Warehouse is almost finished, and the property is almost ready to be marketed, said Stephen Taylor, chairman of the economic development and design committee.