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Wilson Develops Interstate Stop to Lure Drivers

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WILSON — Many people take the interstates because they can get where they're going fast. The challenge for cities along those highways is to make the drivers stop, and spend money. Wilson invested its own resources to keep the money from driving by.

Every day tens of thousands of cars from up and down the east coast cruise through North Carolina highways. As each new business goes up along stretches like Interstate 95, more of that travelling money stops in our state.

The city and county of Wilson have recently found a way to tap into that source. They have worked with developers to turn their I-95 intersection into a motorist's dream.

More than a dozen businesses from new hotel to fast food restaurants have moved here in just two years, using one-stop convenience to lure customers.

"With the service stations, fast food restaurants, it's more likely for businessmen, family people and people coming off the exit at 95 to come stay with us," hotel manager Charles Stovall said.

The success did not happen by accident. Two years ago, Wilson city and county leaders worked with developers to lay water and sewer lines and to add attractive lighting.

"The developers approached the city and county and asked if they would put up the money for the initial investment, if an agreement could be reached that they could be reimbursed based on the increased tax value from that area," executive assistant county manager Denise Stinagle said.

More new business is going up in the area, and shows no signs of slowing down. Local leaders say the private-public partnership was the key.

Local managers say smaller towns like Wilson are an ideal place to build interstate businesses right now because there is less competition and more room to grow.

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Brian Bowman, Reporter
Brian Bowman, Photographer
Jason Darwin, Web Editor

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