WENDELL — Some may say Wendell is picturesque. Now town officials and residents are warming up to the idea of having Wendell picture-filled.
Results of a recent survey reveal residents would like to see murals adorning the exteriors of downtown buildings. In fact, 73 percent said they want murals and 16 percent responded “maybe.”
“Done right, with the right taste and in the right location, I think murals would enhance downtown,” said Wendell Commissioner Ira Fuller, adding art would “help promote” the town and provide a sense of “community – if it is done tastefully.”
About 30 years ago, Coca-Cola painted a mural on the laundromat on Third Street about the same time the J. Ashley Wall Towne Square was being constructed, Fuller said. “It was nice – it had historical scenes, but that was many years ago” and it has since been painted over, said the former town manager.
Keeping with the historical motif remains a popular idea, with the majority of those surveyed saying they want murals to promote the history of Wendell, including its roots in tobacco farming and the railroad.
Of those surveyed, 82 percent said they visit downtown Wendell at least once a week. When asked if adding murals would increase their visits, over half responded affirmatively.
Town Manager Teresa Piner said the mural survey was a small piece of a “much larger plan” that includes “strengthening and enhancing our downtown business core,” in addition to improving the economy and boosting the aesthetic appeal of the town. “Murals are one option and can provide a positive image, as well as tell a story and emphasize what is important to our citizens.” Piner said.
Fuller said town officials are committed to exploring all options when it comes to attracting more people to Wendell. “I know the economic development commission is working real hard on this.”
When asked what else residents want to see downtown, the survey responses were overwhelmingly in favor of adding more stores and restaurants. Cafes with wi-fi were also high on the list. Town Planning Director Zunilda Rodriguez said the survey helps provide “insight for future planning purposes.”
Town commissioners will address the survey results at their Aug. 26 work session.