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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington Downtown Incorporated held a public meeting Thursday night to discuss its plan to improve downtown by adding ambassadors and cleaning up the area. Business owners, patrons, and residents made their way to the meeting and had plenty on their minds.

“Downtown is a wonderful environment. My husband has always said it’s like Mayberry,” says downtown business owner Jeanne Poole. “You know of every body, you take care of everybody.”

Poole is just one downtown business owner that came to WDI’s Thursday night meeting about reducing crime and cleaning up downtown. She says she loves the area but she is not so excited too about Wilmington Downtown Inc’s plan and she doesn’t think downtown should be the only folks who have their taxes raised. “The goals, as I said tonight, are commendable,” says Poole. “A lot of work and a lot of input and research has been put into it, but downtown is not just for the business owners downtown, it’s for everybody. All of the residents of New Hanover county and from all over the world that come here.”

WDI executive director John Hinnant says the point of the meeting was to get the conversation started in the community. They are presenting the idea to Wilmington City Council later this month, and they say they need feedback. Hinnant says although the group seemed agitated, he thinks it’s all apart of the process. “They either don’t know or they have a fear, so they react in anger, because they don’t like the new tax,” says Hinnant.

The proposal suggests the addition of downtown ambassadors and economic development to make the area more attractive and keep folks safe. Business owner Gene Merritt says he thinks the plan is a good idea for Wilmington. “I believe it would improve everything,” says Merritt. “It would increase the security, increase the cleanliness issues, and the green issues. I believe it would be really positive.”

Most business owners at the meeting seemed to be against the the plan. One presenter commented that he had never seen so many people against an idea. WDI says it plans to have more meetings with the public before the report goes to City Council on March 23.

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8 Comments on "WDI plan not a hit with downtown business owners"

2015 years 10 months ago

Why should anyone be taxed? Just close up those businesses that are causing problems. They are public nuisances. If new taxes are imposed, however, the downtown businesses are the ones that will benefit, so let them pay the new taxes. Why should those who never go there pay?

2015 years 10 months ago

What a waste of time and money. Ambassadors? This is just another tired idea using tax money to pay for no results.

Carol Schreiber
2015 years 10 months ago

There are many problems with the downtown area and its’ self creation of such. Get rid of the parking meters which hinder business. I know that’s a novel idea. Parking meters are supposed to aid in business by keeping appropriate flow of traffic. If one is late 2-3 minutes, one should not be penalized. The parking deck has become (and it was predicted) a public urinal and mugging site. The store owners don’t even keep their sidewalk area(s) clean or pretty by putting out flowers. On the river walk there is a mini oasis where one can sit; but when I went there to do so several Sundays ago, I believe there were petty criminals living there. There are gang members all over the place. So move the petty criminals out, get rid of the gang members, take down the public urinal and mugging site; same with parking meters and residents (all residents of New Hanover County) and tourists can enjoy it and feel safe.

Common sense should prevail.

2015 years 10 months ago

Are these the same folks that used the company credit card to pay for personal groceries? If WDI wants to clean up downtown how about getting a trash bag & head out to the streets & start cleaning up & go on out there between midnight & 4am every weekend & you become the ambassadors. This entire state is becoming trashy because budgets are cutting back.

2015 years 10 months ago

Hinnant and WDI just want more money to keep their jobs, (whatever those jobs are, and try to justify their existance. Can someone tell us exactly what WDI has truly done to improve downtown.

Leave the bars open later or all night. That would stop the spill onto the streets at 2am and put more cops downtown for the troublemakers.

Stop wasting our time and money Hinnant & WDI, you are a joke.

Linda Mountjoy
2015 years 10 months ago

What absolute ignorant and unrealistic crap was in your post! I use the parking deck often – have NEVER heard of anyone getting mugged, and have NEVER seen anyone urinate there, either. I also often go to the River Walk – have NEVER seen petty criminals (or anyone else, for that matter) “living” there – NOR have I ever seen “gang members” there, let alone “all over the place.” I can’t even imagine where it is you’ve been visiting, because it doesn’t sound like the same town I know. Common sense? You just sound old and crabby, to me.

2015 years 10 months ago

Linda, you are the one that is confused. You must have been somewhere besides Wilmington, as you would have noticed most of the mentioned problems.

2015 years 10 months ago

…that he is becoming increasingly concerned about the growing gang presence at the hip-hop club next door, I take notice.

When I have to get involved with an agressive panhandler, accosting a female on the steeet, I remember that.

When I have to warn some whacked-out lunatic who is pounding on my truck window demanding money that I am armed, it sticks with you.

I occasionally have to go downtown at night, and am thankful that I have a locked and loaded .45 on my hip when I do.

You must leave downtown by sunset, because if you stayed around any longer, the nightly freak show would scare the beejeezuz out of you.


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