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For more than 20 years, the Wilson Evening Optimist Club used a lot at the corner of Nash Street and North Carolina Avenue to sell roughly 1,000 Christmas trees. The philanthropic property owner’s death means a change is in order for the coming holiday season.
Club President Allen R. Stallings said Lee Gliarmis let the club use the lot, but his death in March led to the property’s sale. Stallings said club members who support area youth found out about the sale in May and have been trying to find a new location since.
“We have put out many feelers to try to find a property,” he said. “We have looked at several properties, but they either were in the process of being sold or they were not big enough to put our trees on.
“We’re hoping to stay in a residential area, but because of spacing and other limits, we may have to go to a commercial spot. Our druthers would be to stay in a residential area if possible because we have many loyal and faithful customers who have purchased trees from us for many, many years.”
While the sale took place earlier this year, changes to the lot are more recent as Kingsmill Homes has started construction for several new homes.
“They are nice cottage-style houses in the $200,000 range with one-car garages,” said builder Tom Benson. “They should fit in the area nicely.”
Jeff Chesson reportedly has already sold the homes, which should be move-in ready within four or five months. Meanwhile, Stallings said he’s optimistic the club will settle on a new location for its largest fundraiser within three weeks. He added that members hope to use social media and the newspaper to get the word out once a location is secured.
“We appreciate the support of the Wilson community for their purchase of our Fraser fir trees we bring in from the North Carolina mountains,” he said. “We thank everyone for the opportunity to help the youth of Wilson County and we’ll continue that tradition this year no matter where we end up.”