FIRST ON 3: City of Wilmington stops funding ‘Bring It! Downtown’

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Submitted: Fri, 08/16/2013 - 8:57pm
Updated: Fri, 08/16/2013 - 11:34pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The City of Wilmington will no longer fund the “Bring It! Downtown” initiative.

In an email sent Thursday, city spokesman Dylan Lee says the Downtown Business Alliance, Wilmington Downtown Inc. and the city couldn’t come to a consensus on a letter of agreement.

“Bring It! Downtown” had six people on its board, three from DBA and three from WDI.

The group spent $60,000 over the past 18 months on items like banners and a video highlighting Downtown Wilmington. The money comes from downtown parking fees and is set aside for marketing downtown.

Lee says the $30,000 earmarked now will go to improved signage in the Central Business District.

Downtown business owner and chair of the campaign Joan Loch says even without the money “Bring it! Downtown” will continue.

“If that team wants to continue working on the marketing part and reaching out to the community to embrace the campaign, they can continue doing that,” Loch said. “All it means is that a piece of the pie as far as the money would disappear if that is the choice of City Council. I do not think that will be the case.”

But Lee’s e-mail says the “Bring it! Downtown” campaign has been removed from Tuesday’s City Council agenda, and city staff has recommended pulling the funding from being used in an ad campaign.

The e-mail goes on to say that city encourages downtown businesses to continue to use the brand in their marketing.

Loch says the branding is effective, and the campaign will continue through a team of businesses.

“Bring It! Downtown” got some unwanted attention earlier this year when an investigation revealed it had misspent thousands of dollars throwing a video premier party at the Downtown Hilton. Wilmington Magazine, one of the sponsors of the event, ended up having to foot the bill.


  • TaxPayersMAMA says:

    What a joke this was in the first place.
    Yes, they have semi-good intentions. (I would argue good intentions if there were no benefit to their own income). No, they have no freaking clue how to market their own businesses, let alone, use funds from taxpayers like me to market the downtown business district. By the way, why the F’n Shistacoff are they using my tax dollars to market their business? I own a company in Ogden and I don’t see a dime from those business owners to market my business. Complete and utter malarchy. D

  • Guest2020 says:

    Absolutely agree.

  • Paul says:

    TaxPayersMAMA, umm,
    If you are in Ogden, then you aren’t in the city limits of Wilmington, thus weren’t paying Wilmington taxes for this to begin with.

  • DITTOS says:

    I missed that part about using “your tax dollars” in the article…HAHA. Seems the joke is on you.

  • DowntownResident says:

    While you are cutting, go ahead and cut WDI, too. WDI has done a lot for publicity, but unfortunately it has all been for mis-steps like turning parking spaces into lounge areas or sketchy credit card use. Other than having a pretty office that you can look into from the street, they’ve done nothing to make downtown better. Instead, they’ve suckled from the city funds.

    I’d be more apt to give the DBA more control considering the people who make up the group have an investment into what goes on downtown. What real investment does WDI have other than finding ways to keep taking more money?

  • RSimmons says:

    Worst thing going for downtown is having two different business groups, they agree on nothing other than taking money from the city. These two entities seem to take no initiative on their own to improve downtown, instead leaving it to the city to come up with and often fund their marketing strategies.

    You don’t have to look far to understand why there is such a high percentage of business turnovers downtown. It is very frustrating to those of us who wish to see our downtown prosper.

  • wilm says:

    the best thing to do is stay away from downtown

  • Guest 28449 says:

    Should be Bring It Downtown if your Packing. Darn sure need to be for protection, cops won’t protect you or your property. Have to agree with the poll ,who in their right mind would go Downtown to begin with. The place is an drunken, drug infested mess!

  • ChefnSurf says:

    Not one of these groups should be publicly funded. If any of these groups were actually successful in generating “downtown” traffic, this poll would be different and it’s not. Investing in failed initiatives is a failed investment. That’s a no-brainer.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    the campaign was a failure. In the private sector, Management knows when to cut losses.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    your point is?

  • ChefnSurf says:

    Actually I was just supporting your position …. but now that I’ve re-read my post …. I realize that I was just redundantly supporting a post that’s about as insightful as you explaining to us all that you should stop at a stop sign because a stop sign means “stop”.

    My bad. Won’t happen twice.

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