The desire to promote Wilson County and also help out a new nonprofit that provides affordable transportation for senior citizens were the catalysts for a new specialty license plate now in the preorder stage.
Preorders of the “Wilson County Place to Be” license plate began in late April with the goal to sign up 1,000 to get the plate on the permanent roster of specialty plates. The deadline to meet the presale goal is June 2022.
“The specialty plates concept was developed by Mayor Hutto’s office, and the design was approved by the County Health & Welfare Committee before being adopted by resolution of the full county commission,” said Susan Shaw with Hutto’s office. Shaw is on the board of Wilson Rides, Inc.
Wilson County Rides is now a nonprofit under the leadership of Gaye Lynn Wilson. When the idea of a specialty plate to honor Wilson County was in the planning stages, in order for it to be submitted to the legislature, a beneficiary of funds raised from its sale had to be selected.
“Having a special county license plate is an opportunity to show pride in your community,” Hutto said. “Adding to that, purchasing a special license plate will provide a lifeline of support to a great organization, Wilson Rides, that helps our seniors keep their independence and mobility with this local ride service. Volunteer drivers build relationships while giving back for a greater purpose.”
Curtis Davidson, with Visionary Design Group, designed the plate. He’s a Wilson Central High School and Middle Tennessee State University graduate.
“I wanted it to be simple and easy to read, but readily identifiable as Wilson County,” Davidson said.
Shaw said it costs $35 to preorder the plate. When the 1,000 pre-sales are made, the plate will go into production. Fifty percent of that $35 will go toward Wilson Rides, 40 percent to the Tennessee Arts Commission and 10 percent to the state highway fund, according to Shaw. This equates to approximately $15,000 a year if those plates are renewed, and more if additional plates are sold. Because the drivers for Wilson Rides are volunteers, these particular funds will help subsidize the drivers.
“We encourage people to sign up as soon as possible to get on the first 1,000 list,” Shaw said. “As soon as we have 1000 people to purchase the plate and collect $35 fee per plate, we will send the order to the state and the plates will be available shortly after that.”
From May 2021 through July 27, 2021, Wilson Rides had 11 drivers, 21 riders (average age of 78) and 58 trips were delivered. Seniors pay $25 annually to be a Wilson Rides member, with a $6 per ride up to three hours in Wilson County.
For information about the license plates, call Wilson at (615) 622-5557 or Shaw at (615) 444-1383.