Local leaders, business owners and celebrities gathered on May 11, 2010, to endorse a new campaign that would let the world know Wilson County is the Place to Be.
Famed entertainers including Tracy Lawrence, Gretchen Wilson and Lorrie Morgan, former Tennessee Titan Mike Jones and Channel 2's Lisa Patton came out to explain why they had chosen to plant roots here.
Emblems featuring the slogan "Wilson County - The Place to Be!" were passed out to the crowd and the initiative was born. However, five years later some folks feel like the campaign has lost its identity.
Lebanon Economic Development Director Helene Cash explained during a Wilson County - The Place to Be! meeting held at the Wilson County Courthouse on Tuesday morning why she "stepped away" from the campaign for a while.
"I've been on and off for several years now. I stopped coming for a while because I felt like it was lost. Is it tourism? Is it recruiting business? What do we want to accomplish with this?" she asked.
"We all know that Wilson County is great - but what is our mission?"
Wilson Bank & Trust Chairman and CEO Randall Clemons, who directed the meeting, said that the initiative began as a way to combat bad publicity surrounding the school system. "We had big names come out and help us," he said, adding that the school system is currently doing great and is a drawing point for folks to relocate here.
Clemons said that members took a two-month hiatus from meeting in order to gather their thoughts on what direction they will go next. "Tourism took it over before and that didn't work... We are at a turning point."
Lebanon-Wilson Chamber of Commerce President Melanie Minter said that they would be willing to host meetings, in conjunction with the other county chambers, to gain momentum.
"I am not going to say that we are going to take it on, but we are willing to help it move forward and facilitate it," she said. "We are all the time trying to plug people into what works for them. You might get a different crowd if we give them that opportunity to be a part of Wilson County - The Place to Be."
C&D Realty owner Judy Cox took the idea a step beyond hosting meetings - she suggested that they, once again, enlist local talent to promote the county. "It would be great to have a billboard on the interstate with a picture of Charlie Daniels holding up our emblem," she said. "We could get a lot of people to hold the emblem in the places like Charlie Daniels Park or Don Fox Park, which make Wilson County the place to be, and share it on Facebook. Repetition through social media really works."
To learn more about Wilson County - The Place to Be or for information on future meetings "like" Wilson County - The Place to Be! on Facebook.
Staff Writer Sabrina Garrett may be contacted at email@example.com.