KNIGHTDALE — Land sold to the town to build Knightdale Station Park will honor its previous owners by way of a donation given to the town to name the dog park.
The dog park at Knightdale Station Park will be named after Ashley Wilder, Knightdale’s mayor from 1962-64 and a relative of Billy Wilder, who was mayor from 1976-1991. Billy Wilder also sold the land that became Knightdale Station Park to the town.
Steve Wilder, Ashley Wilder’s son, paid the $3,000 sponsorship fee assigned to the dog park and Billy Wilder announced the donation at the most recent Town Council meeting last week.
“(Ashley Wilder) really loved Knightdale,” Billy Wilder said. “He did a lot of good for our community.”
Ashley Wilder was the founder of the Knightdale Fire Department and served as a the chairman of the town’s school board before the county created its own.
He was in the fuel business, selling fuel to Knightdale residents. He allowed customers to buy fuel on credit, but didn’t charge them interest, Billy Wilder said.
“(Ashley Wilder thought) if they could afford to pay it, they wouldn’t be borrowing it in the first place,” he said. Billy Wilder said Ashley would often absorb the cost of fuel for older residents and widows and pay for it himself.
There were several options for naming rights at the new park, but the Wilders said the dog park fit Ashley Wilder the best. Steve Wilder said his father was a well-known quail hunter who always had dogs around.
“I’m right proud of him,” Steve Wilder said. “He worked hard to get Knightdale positioned (for the future).”
The town is allowing residents and companies to donate money to gain naming rights for 15 years to certain amenities in the park. Donors will also receive naming rights for two years to events that will be tied to those amenities – like tennis tournaments for the sponsors of the not-yet-constructed tennis courts.
The two most expensive naming rights still remain: $45,000 for a shelter and $36,000 for a skate park.
Hankerson: 919-829-4826; Twitter: @easternwakenews