Visitors tax will help pay for Gillette expansion

Wilson’s Gillette Athletic Park will be able to continue to compete for major soccer tournaments and other events, thanks to a new influx of funding approved by the N.C. General Assembly.

The Legislature voted last summer to increase the occupancy tax paid by hotel guests in Wilson County from 3 percent to 6 percent. The increase became state law on July 1 and went into effect on Nov. 1.

The change is expected to create an additional $300,000 per year in tourism funds. Wilson plans to to use the money first to build two artificial turf soccer fields, installing artificial turf in the championship baseball stadium, and building a pavilion between the soccer fields, all improvements needed to help the city compete for major regional and national tournaments.