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 In the News, November 6, 2017 

Wilson's whirligig park officially opens

A new one-of-a-kind park held its grand opening Thursday and it features dozens of works from one of North Carolina's most famous folk artists. Hundreds of people were in attendance for the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony of the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park in Wilson, a place the city hopes will become an arts and education hub that will provide sorely needed recreation space. Sitting on two acres of land, the park features more than 30 sculptures made by the world famous folk artist Vollis Simpson. All of the pieces were moved to this property in the downtown area from their original location outside of the city.

Gateway signs installed at city’s entrances

The Lexington Tourism Authority is nearing completion of its wayfinding sign project with the installation of seven new gateway signs located at the major entranceways into the city. The new city gateways signs, which are replacing existing signs, have blue individual letters and will include a lighted background. They also have the new skyline logo adopted by the City of Lexington and wooden accents to represent the history of manufacturing. Robin Bivens, director of the Lexington Tourism Authority, said the signage program was created to assist visitors in finding their way into the city. She said the new gateway signs are part of an overall project with signs that are supposed to complement each other. “The whole look is supposed to tie in with all the other signs we have installed,” Bivens said. “Everything works together with an indication of a progressive look to represent the way Lexington has progressed.”

Farmville credits the booming arts community for turning their town around

One small community in the east has been on a journey to rebuild their town for several years now and they did it by specializing in an area that many might say is unorthodox for such a small place. The results speak for itself with people flocking there in droves and jump-starting the local economy. Art is everywhere. "What we're trying to do is not just make energy happen, creativity happen, but to bring the citizens with us," explains Linda Adele Goodine, ECU Belk Distinguished Professor. "We're not trying to do something to the town, we're trying to be with the town." Like many small towns in the east, not five years ago Farmville was struggling financially, but today it's easy to see the transformation. "Because of this art bit, I'm telling you, it's become just a metropolis almost," says Judy Clark Gidley, the executive director of the Farmville Chamber of Commerce.

Greenway grant awarded

Mount Airy’s greenway network is getting some “green” from the state government in the form of a $500,000 grant from the N.C. Division of Water Resources. City officials were notified in late October of the grant award for Phase VIII of the Ararat River Stream Restoration Project. It will aid further restoration of the river and the building of the next leg of the greenway system along that waterway. Specifically, the financial assistance provided by the Division of Water Resources will be used to restore about 2,824 linear feet of the streambank and for associated greenway construction.