Monday, November 30, 2015

A Community Message from the new Councilman

From the Desk of Councilman-elect Michael S. Bell

The election is over and we now have an opportunity to work together to make Wilson the most progressive city in the Eastern Region.

Residents of District 2, thank you for giving me the opportunity to represent you on the Wilson City Council. I plan to serve the city in a positive, practical, and purposeful way and work with all to find solutions to the challenges facing us.

As we go forward, there will be critical and challenging times; however, I believe that, as a community, we will prevail.

We have the assets, the skills and capacities of our residents, the strength of our business community, and the power of our local institutions and community groups to build on. Our city needs more innovative ways to create jobs and expand our tax base. Indeed, economic development must be a driver to lower our high unemployment rate. However, our workforce must be educated and skilled to take advantage of future opportunities.

We need look at a micro enterprise strategy to simulate jobs and services in the underserved areas of Wilson.

There are neighborhoods in our city that need attention.

To build healthy neighborhoods, we need to address blighted properties develop quality affordable housing, develop a skilled workforce, improve community leadership and community safety.

Our downtown development must continue to be strategically managed to ensure that our historical heritage and character is not destroyed. Our downtown amenities, businesses and housing must benefit all our residents. In my 12 years living in Wilson, we have talked about a civic center. It is time for us to seek investors and developers for partnerships to bring this to reality. A feasibility study on the current Wilson Mall is a good place to start.

Most large cities of our size have a civic center with multiple streams of income. Rocky Mount, New Bern and Greenville are examples of cities with civic centers that attract small to medium size conferences and events. We have the potential to divert some of these conferences to our beautiful city. A project of this magnitude will have its challenges. However, when we focus on the possibilities, the solutions to our problems will be apparent. We need the input of everyone to make Wilson a better place to live work and play. Our best days are ahead.

Michael S. Bell
City Councilman-elect