Here’s a wish list with a few things we’d like to see happen in Wilkes County in 2022.
First, North Wilkesboro’s elected officials need to drop any thoughts of appealing a judge’s recent appropriate decision allowing the Catherine Barber Homeless Shelter to operate in a donated building on N.C. 268 East, near N.C. 18 North.
If that’s not a suitable place for a homeless shelter, we don’t know where there is one in North Wilkesboro.
Second, North Wilkesboro needs to make cleaning up the old C.C. Smoot & Sons Tannery site (more recently Jenkins Wholesale) a top priority. Little is known about what’s there — including underground — but someone needs to get the ball rolling to find out.
Funding opportunities should be better now. Nearby areas also need to be cleaned up. Situated near the Yadkin River and fields, that area could be a recreational and scenic asset.
Across the river, Wilkesboro officials should seek public input in some formal way on what is done with a 41-acre bottomland parcel along Cub and Little Cub (Mill) creeks that the town recently bought.
There are great possibilities for that property and the public should be involved in the process of deciding what is chosen.
Speaking of great potential, the long-proposed trail between Elkin and North Wilkesboro could be the recreational offering that would make Wilkes stand out like never before.
Consider the economic impact of the Virginia Creeper Trail between White Top, Va., and Abingdon, Va.
Wilkes County emergency services is in severe need of improved radio communication. Instances of radio communication having to be repeated or replaced by cell phone calls are far too common.
This is literally a matter of life and death.
Briefly stated, some other things that need to happen are:
The Wilkes County commissioners should crack down on trash haulers with uncovered loads instead of periodically bemoaning the resulting roadside litter.
The county commissioners also need to enact an occupancy tax for areas outside the municipalities.
North Wilkesboro Police Officers need higher pay to help reduce high turnover rates there but even more so because it’s the right thing to do. Similarly, dispatchers in the Wilkes Communications Center need higher pay.