WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Many drivers out there try to avoid driving on Market Street for one reason or another. Now the city of Wilmington is planning ahead and looking to make some major changes but like everything else it’ll take time and money. The city presented its plan on how to make it’s mark on Market Street.
Many have said Market Street is ugly and unsafe and that’s why city leaders are taking a holistic approach to try and revitalize the corridor.
The city of Wilmington has a new vision for an eleven mile corridor on Market Street that begins at Colonial Drive and extends to the border of New Hanover and Pender counties. The city is calling the recommendation the Market Street Corridor Plan.
“Those property owners should be contacted and I would like to see what the cost would be to send those people certified mail,” said Mayor Bill Saffo. “I think everyone of them should have a chance to look at the plan and understand the magnitude of the plan and how it will impact their property and their property rights.”
Saffo says the public should have more input on this project. The city is considering changes that would be made in 15 to 20 years but council members say discussion is necessary now.
“It’s not going to happen this year,” said Wilmington City Council member Kevin O’Grady. “It’s not going to change now but if we don’t set a plan for the future we’re bound to have a war over the chaos we have out there.”
Many say Market Street is poorly designed and too heavily traveled. In an effort to reduce traffic, the city is suggesting the addition of a median, the reduction of driveways, the addition of sidewalks and bike lanes along with many other adjustments to meet the needs of the city.
“It’s one thing to sit around a round table and have these ideas and concepts and wonderful conversation, but once they get into a real visual design that people can look at and study and have comment about I think it’s important that they have the opportunity to have that,” said Wilmington City Council member Kristi Tomey.
The changes to the corridor would affect businesses and residents within 1,000 feet on either side of Market Street. Councilman Charlie Rivenbark also suggested adding a note in the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority’s bills to notify residents of the corridor recommendation.
At Tuesday’s meeting Wilmington City Council voted to approve a supplemental appropriation in the amount of $250,000 dollars and that money will go in the Capital Projects Fund for the construction of Phase III of the Cross City Trail. Council also approved a resolution in support of the New Hanover County operations of the Flemington Soccer Complex. The vote has a price tag of around $40,000 dollars.