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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Downtown leaders got more advice today on how to make the area better.

At a luncheon, business leaders, property owners and real estate professionals discussed trends and issues that affect downtown.

“Wwhen I first started coming downtown in the ’80s, there was one good restaurant,” Wilmington resident Richard Weisman said. “Now there is a half a dozen good ones.”

Weisman says he spends a lot of time drinking coffee and enjoying the downtown atmosphere.

Thursday Wilmington leaders met to think of ways to bring new life to the area.

“Eeconomic development is WDI’s main focus, and we work very closely to bring entrepreneurs here to work with those that are already in business to help them perform better,” Wilmington Downtown Inc. President & CEO Ed Wolverton said.

He says economic development includes many different types of activities including adding to the residential base. He says the new 120-unit city block apartments will bring much needed growth to downtown.

David Downey is the president and CEO of the International Downtown Association. He says Wilmington is on the right path to creating and sustaining a vibrant downtown atmosphere.

“Really shaping a strong vision for the future and as a community and as a group of leaders committing to that long term vision is what is really going to propel Wilmington to be everything that I know it can be,” Downey said.

Weisman says this is a city that has grown tremendously in the past 20 years and hopes the next 20 are just as successful.

“The city is putting money into the infrastructure, the colleges, the private enterprises and when you have that you have a winning combination,” Weisman said.

A combination city leaders hope will bring big bucks downtown.

WDI’s Wolverton says they city continues to see a resurgence of growth downtown. He says more than $150 million worth of big projects are planned for the central business district.

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