This week in history we look back 10, 25 and 50 years at what was happening in the eastern Wake County area.
In 2004, Wendell’s crawl westward was running into some obstacles. In 1989, Zebulon officials were looking back on the last three weeks of tours of industrial facilities. And in 1964, Zebulon was organizing a Community Council.
Towns need to expand. For smaller towns, that is often the primary method of growth. In 2004, Wendell was running into some issues, as its plan to annex some property west of town was coming under fire.
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Opponents believe Wendell’s plan to annex about 260 acres west of town does not meet state-set criteria and that the town did not follow proper procedure. At a public hearing Monday night, residents said they were also worried about the annexation’s cost to the town.
Annexing the proposed area would add 200 additional properties to the existing town limits and increase Wendell’s population by about 400 new residents, according to the Annexation Feasibility Study dated Feb. 9.
Despite a good-size crowd for a board meeting, only two people addressed the Wendell Town Board at a public hearing April 12. One of the most visible annexation opponents, Ray Lamb, listed several reasons why he was against the process that would bring Wendell closer to the interchange of U.S. 64 and the upcoming U.S. 64 Bypass.
The president of Bridgegate subdivision’s homeowners association said he believed the town did not follow statutory procedure. Wendell did not adopt a resolution of intent that would have stated the annexed area’s boundaries and set a date for a public hearing, Lamb said, adding he attended all public information sessions, and that a town representative never explained the annexation feasibility study to the sessions’ participants.
Staying with the theme of growth, industry is important to any town’s growth, large or small. In 1989, Zebulon officials had just completed a three-week survey of local industries as part of an assessment for further industrial growth.
Zebulon is often described by area business leaders and industry recruiters as having an environment conducive to industry and the arrival of two international corporations in the last four years bears this out. With that in mind as the town continues to grow and change, its officials have been making an effort to stay abreast of the industries that currently call Zebulon home.
Over a period of three weeks beginning late last month, Zebulon’s mayor, board of commissioners and town manager took time out to tour seven local industrial sites. The project was something Town Manager Charles Horne took upon himself while an administrator in Weaversville. When he got the idea for a repeat performance in his new workplace, he thought would be a “good idea” to invite the mayor and commissioners to come along and they agreed.
“Basically we wanted to get an idea of what is produced in Zebulon and see the people who work here,” Horne explained. “It’s amazing the amount of diversity we have here. It (the tour) gave us an understanding of the range of products made and and the range of income that’s produced at each company. It gave us a better insight as to the types of industry in the Zebulon area.”
“It was the greatest thing, I’m so glad we did that,” Commissioner Grace Kilkelly said of the project. “I pass three of the industries frequently on (N.C.) 97 and I’ve always wondered what was inside and what they did. I’m pleased to learn more about our industries.”
Running a town is tough work. Not since the stone age, and maybe before, was it possible for one man to manage a settlement. In 1964, Zebulon’s growth gave birth to a new organization dedicated to making community management easier.
Dr. N. P. Grogan, Zebulon optometrist, was elected president of the Community council Monday night a tan organization meeting held in the Wakelon agriculture building. Representatives of civic, school, and church organizations voted unanimously to enter the Capital Area Development Contest, and the Community council under Dr. Grogan’s leadership will plan and coordinate projects undertaken by community organizations.
[...]A number of civic clubs have indicated support for the Council and promised assistance in competing in the Capital Area contest. Letters will be mailed to all groups asking official endorsement of the development work. Those who participate will hold membership on the Council. Two members of each participating organization will be representatives on the Council.
Already underway is a survey by the Zebulon Junior Chamber of Commerce to determine community attitude. The comprehensive survey will be made in the Town of Zebulon and the area within one mile of the city limits. It will include the age, education, and other pertinent information on all citizens, and the improvements residents believe most needed.
Purpose of the Community council is to initiate a survey of community needs, plan and coordinate improvement projects, and prevent duplication of effort. C.V. Tart, Wakelon agriculture teacher, is serving as adviser for the Council. He is well known for his community development in other areas.