Since filing in July to run for the District 3 seat on the Greenville City Council, Will Bell has worked on “putting down roots” in his district.
“I closed on my home right after I filed for the District 3 seat,” Bell said of his house off of Elm Street. “It’s been a lot of work renovating my home … but I love this neighborhood and I am happy to put down roots right here in District 3.”
Bell, 24, is running for the City Council seat that is being left vacant by McLean Godley, who announced he would not be seeking reelection. Ward is running against middle school teacher Uriah Ward during the municipal elections in November.
“I want to continue the work McLean Godley has done during the past two years,” Bell said. “The city has made great strides and I want to help Greenville continue to be a leader in eastern North Carolina.”
Bell said his campaign in District 3 has been “picking up steam” since he filed in July for the election.
“It’s been going great,” Bell said. “I’ve been getting out and talking with people about their concerns for District 3 and the city as a whole. The people have been wonderful and we have been getting a lot of people registered to vote in the upcoming elections.”
A native of Wilmington, Bell moved to Greenville in 2011 to pursue a degree in political science from East Carolina University. Bell – who currently serves on the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission – said one of his goals on the City Council will be the retention of ECU graduates.
“I had five roommates in college and I was the only one who stayed in Greenville,” Bell said. “The community invests a lot of time and resources into these students and we can’t afford to keep losing that talent to Raleigh and Charlotte.”
If elected, Bell said he would make public safety one of his top priorities on the City Council.
“Safety always has to be at the top of any elected official’s list,” Bell said. “We have to ensure that emergency services continue to be well funded and we have to continue improving street lighting in our neighborhoods.”
Bell said he also wants to focus on improving the city’s infrastructure.
“Another priority has to be roads,” Bell said. “A lot of progress is being made but we have a ways to go before all of our streets are where they need to be. We also need to improve walkability throughout the Greenville.
“A lot of neighborhoods in District 3 don’t have any sidewalks at all and students are walking these roads everyday to and from class,” Bell said. “That is something we have to change. Even the students that don’t stay in Greenville after graduation are going to be ambassadors for our city when they leave and we need to provide them a safe and walkable experience while they live here.”
Bell added that he would like to see more small businesses opening throughout District 3.
“This is such a diverse area … its totally unique,” Bell said. “I want to encourage small business growth in the district to really market the variety we have here.”
Bell said that he is “certainly up for the challenge” of taking part in the city’s next two-year budget cycle that the City Council will begin in January.
“I manage the budget for this district for my company,” said Bell, who works full time at Southern Glazer Wine and Spirits. “So I have experience in managing money wisely and getting more bang for the buck. I think that is something that I could put to good use during the next budget cycle.
“This is an exciting time to be in Greenville,” Bell said. “I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work for the city.”