Hinnant bids farewell to Wilmington Downtown Inc.

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Submitted: Fri, 08/30/2013 - 3:59am
Updated: Fri, 08/30/2013 - 4:14am

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) – Friday will be the last day on the job for Wilmington Downtown Incorporated’s leaders, John Hinnant.

Hinnant became the Executive Director of WDI in June of 2006 and says he has loved serving the city.

John Hinnant has been the leader of WDI for the past 6 years and says he will still be around to help downtown grow and thrive.

Hinnant announced his departure in June, but stayed on to see the completion of projects like the Downtown Sundown Concert Series.

Hinnant will now focus on his commercial real estate business. He says now is the right time to step aside, because he feels like the city is better of than it was when he first took office.

“I think we have positioned downtown to provide significant leadership to the region,” said Hinnant.

Wilmington Downtown Incorporated is a public private partnership, governed by a 35-member board. Their purpose is to promote economic growth and cultural activities and events in downtown Wilmington.

WDI began a nationwide search to replace Hinnant in June, but now word yet on who will be the organizations new leader.


  • Rick Wilson says:

    But……..you do realize that in spite of the city’s aggressive forced annexation policies before the legislature shut them down, it was always about ONLY DOWNTOWN. The newly conquered were only there to provide extra funds for downtown. The city gov. should not be allowed to use city tax funds that do not benefit all of the people trapped in the city………

  • ChefnSurf says:

    It’s always been just about “downtown” at the expense of everyone else. That’s what the ballpark thing was all about, and in the most flagrant way.

    Time for the rest of the city to suck it up and start realizing they don’t need “downtown” anymore. “Downtown” tried to screw the rest of the city. It’s time for the rest of the city to tell them to go screw themselves.

  • Guest2020 says:

    I don’t doubt it in the least. I am so glad that the legislature shut down the forced annexation. It’s too bad that the people who were forced into the city in the past, can’t be allowed to be free from the city.

  • Vog46 says:

    I will disagree with to a point here. Setting up special tax zones is completely legal, and is a fair way to assess special taxes on specific areas when the city has a need for something different that would impact that specific area.
    The down town bars require more police attention – especially at 2 a.m. so a localized tax to pay for that increased presence would be a fair way to provide that extra police effort.
    You ARE, of course, correct that annexation was nothing more than a property tax grab so as to provide more tax revenues for city projects – among them them the ill-conceived convention center and the proposed ballpark.
    I am somewhat surprised that the County has allowed room occupancy taxes to be diverted to the CC Fund though. The beaches remain as the main economic driver of activity here and need to be maintained. The CC is nothing more than a drain on financial resources.


  • Vog46 says:

    Tell us how you REALLY feel………:-)

    PS – You just made my day

  • Rick Wilson says:

    I will only concede to your point a little…….because if you were able to add up all the money the city wastes on downtown, then they could probably even be able to give the bar owners a break for a little while and pay the firefighters and police officers a wage comparable to other local areas.

    The money spent “studying” and “promoting” the ridiculous ballpark proposal, all the money wasted building and maintaining the Convention Center as it continues to be a huge loss from an operational standpoint, the money wasted on WDI, and last but certainly not least…….the money wasted on the Chamber of Commerce. A 6 figure salary for the figurehead plus other costs for absolutely nothing in return. It is way past time for an independent audit down to the penny as to how taxpayer money is spent/wasted.

    Oh, please do not forget how much the riverwalk is going cost to repair/replace. Both the the city and county governments are great at buying/building things, they just never consider doing any preventive maintenance. It always seems to have to be a very costly disaster before any action is taken.

  • ChefnSurf says:

    Sometimes a person gets to the point where enough is just enough. Grrr !

    Have some fun and Google up “An Ode to Baseball – Wilmington style” with my compliments.

    Chef :-)

  • Vog46 says:

    I’d be able to add them if I knew them but they are obscured in the budget filings unfortunately.
    But remember what we’re talking about here – taxes and taxes that are collected in a specific area for a specific purpose.
    I agree that the city wastes money, and lots of it, on studies but the CC is a little different in that residents don’t pay those taxes tourists do. The ROT is used to fund it.
    What interests me in that situation is what happens when the money runs out? If you listen to council members they firmly believe there will be enough money because they are banking on the attached hotel, and at least 3 other new ones paying 100% of their taxes into the CC fund.
    If those hotels are NOT built the city has the excuse of “Well the hotel never got built so the CC failed because of it.”
    BTW the lawsuit filed against the city monies being used (which is a breach of an agreement with hotels down town) indicates that the CC hotel property was sold by the city for about $580,000. The real estate value of that property is about $3 to $4 Million – so the hoteliers are saying the city is subsidizing that hotel construction project.
    That MAY prove to be true.

  • Rick Wilson says:

    I agree, but before it is over, the CC will be a noose around the taxpayers necks. Whatever they choose to blame for its failure, the bottom line is that it should have never been built.

  • Vog46 says:

    It was, and still remains, a terrific piece !
    Rereading some of those blog posts brought back questions.
    Among them was the sale of Mandalay baseball properties, and the 5 teams they own, which includes the Dayton Dragons.
    I will have to research that to see if they have, in fact, disposed of their assets.

    What a boondoggle that would have been had it passed ! Building a stadium for a team that is now up for sale. Signing an agreement with a corporation that is now no longer in existence !!!
    The city should be thankful we voted it down.


  • Guest Thank you says:

    Thanks for making downtown The Place to Be on Fridays for the amazing unforgettable tribute band shows!!!!!!!

  • guesty says:

    Make sure he turns in his credit card before hitting the door.

  • Vog46 says:

    The “concept” of marketing down town is OK by me, but, the city should not subsidize it. Wilmington’s down town should “sell itself”. Waterfront, good climate, nearby recreational sites, not overly populated – ALL these things, on their own, make down town an attractive place to be.
    So if down town merchants want to pay the “CEO” of WDI an outrageous salary (which they do), and give him an expense account with unlimited expenses (which they apparently do), so as to market down town then I say go right ahead – but under NO circumstances should the city subsidize the organization.
    The city can market the area by keeping taxes low to foster business growth in the area – but that is a government function. Low taxes combined with the natural amenities of the area should be the thrust of the city’s effort – it should not be to pay into a private marketing effort.
    WDI should be defunded by the city and be allowed to operate only on private funds.


  • Guest2020 says:

    I agree completely. Not only is the advertising not a function of the city government, it is not right for the merchants outside of the downtown area to fund advertising for their competitors.

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