WDI looks to other cities for downtown models

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Submitted: Thu, 02/17/2011 - 10:19pm
Updated: Thu, 02/17/2011 - 11:22pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Downtown Wilmington is full of history, culture and beauty, but recent events have taken away from those things.

Wilmington Downtown Inc. Is trying to revitalize our the area by learning from other cities with similar downtowns. WDI executive director John Hinnant said while downtown Wilmington is unique, we face similar trials with other city centers like New Orleans.

As part of WDI’s new Downtown Speaker Series, president of the New Orleans Downtown Development District Kurt Weigle offered some advice at today’s luncheon.

“Most important thing you can do to address safety is to put more people on the streets,” Weigle said. “Bad people don’t like to operate where there are lots of good people around to see them, so the more people you can keep on the streets day and night in downtown, the crime issues will start to take care of themselves.”

Weigle said the best way to stimulate growth downtown is to focus on authenticity. In other words, what makes downtown Wilmington different from anywhere else?


  • Guest7969 says:

    Can we just not try to be something we’re NOT? Let’s just be Wilmington!! We cannot and don’t even want to be a city like New Orleans!!

  • Challengetheworld says:

    All those things you mentioned “hardware store, butcher shops, shoe repair..” they all were blasted off the blocks by more BARS, carousel restaurants (ones with a new name every other week) and more crappy souvenir stores.

    The reason I don’t go downtown? The beer is cheaper, no one spills it on me, and when I’m done I don’t have to worry about getting mugged or robbed.

  • Guest says:

    What makes downtown Wilmington different from anywhere else?
    The smell of urine and vomit on Sunday morning?

    Put more people on the streets. Seriously, that’s it? Oh, and authenticity. Was this guy paid for these pearls of wisdom?

    Did anyone outline the reasons why most people won’t go downtown?
    Here’s my list:
    1. It’s surrounded by welfare, drugs, crime, violence and alcohol

    It’s not an organic city. You can’t really live there. There are no supermarkets, drug stores, movie theaters, hardware stores, bakeries, butcher shops, shoe repair, clothing stores…just the trendy/crappy souvenir type stuff. In short, you can’t live there without a car because you have to leave to go get stuff. That’s weird, you shouldn’t have to leave town to get what you need. If you can’t live in a town without a car, you don’t have an organic, living, working town. Everyone keeps trying to make downtown Wilmington into a tourist destination instead of a living destination. Everyone keeps trying to lure people there with farmers markets and festivals.

    Why not try to make it a place where people want to live? Town living is great for retirees and students when they can walk or use public transportation to go everywhere they need to go. As it is, you couldn’t pay me to go downtown at night.

  • Challengetheworld says:

    WDI is a scam. They are commendeering local funding from tax payers and they are nothing but open-ended consultants. The last major announcement they made was about as exciting as watching paint dry.

    Here is a great and insightful comparision: “WDI executive director John Hinnant said while downtown Wilmington is unique, we face similar trials with other city centers like New Orleans.”

    NEW ORLEANS!?!?! Now we are being compared to the same city that had police officers murdering looters!?! Now we are being compared to a post-Katrina city? If WDI wants to hold any weight what so ever, why doesn’t it focus on getting some of these slum-lord bars and disgusting night clubs closed? And, “if Downtown Wilmington is full of history, culture and beauty, but recent events have taken away from those things.” is a true statement, how many WDI employees are actually old enough to remember how Wilmington “used to be”.

    This WDI should be a consultant to businesses and have no affiliation with the City of Wilmington. Unfortunatley, our ever insighful and non-corrupt mayor what so-ever, Mr. Saffo, believes they hold the key to the sucess of the perserverance of a return to a historical downtown society.


  • WilmWatcher says:

    This complex structure of little “mini-governments” running around creating policy, executing strategy, and charging their individual exercises to the taxpayer, is completely out of hand. Groups like WDI all have one particular mission that benefits their own position – but yet have the power to collect money from all citizens through the handouts given by city council. And there are a dozen groups just like them. If we had a city leadership that actually had the capability to lead – we wouldn’t have to handout millions and millions and millions of dollars every year to the alphabet soup of hidden, unaccountable organizations.

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