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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — After nearly half a century, the Water Street Parking Deck in downtown Wilmington needs an upgrade, and soon, but plans to remove the deck and redevelop the land are slow moving.

Today Wilmington City Council members met again to try to get closer to a decision.

A survey of city council shows most council members want to reopen Chestnut Street, which runs next to and into the deck, between Front and Water streets for pedestrians and cars. Council members could not come to a consensus, though, on how the road will work.

Another hotly debated topic at today’s work session was public parking.

“It isn’t necessary to provide all the parking in one place,” Councilwoman Laura Padgett said.

But most members agreed 325 public parking spaces would be sufficient

When it came to size of the project, one council member stood out from the others. Padgett says she has different goals.

“A scaled down project that provides significant public access,” Padgett said she wants. “A place, not just for people to walk through as the public space, but a place to actually be on the river.”

But scaling down the project means hiking up the price.

“If you bring the scale down, then you’re going to bring up the public investment, so it’s all trade-offs,” Councilman Neil Anderson said.

Even though the meeting ran longer than expected, hardly any decisions were made.

“I’ve learned that these are brain-storming sessions, and you try to build some consensus, and that’s been done, but I wouldn’t call it a decision until we get an actual proposal,” Anderson said.

A city spokesman says next week council will discuss having an outside consultant craft a request for proposals for the project.

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4 Comments on "Redevelopment of Water St. deck crawls along"

2015 years 10 months ago

I love in and love downtown. I am excited about the prospects of this development. I just hope they lay out the retail to attract a grocery store. We really need a grocery store. One that does not charge $6.00 for a gallon of milk. A good grocery store. I will see if they are listening. I have been to council and to the presentation by the group they hired to set this up. We really really need a grocery store downtown. Here’s hoping I guess.

2015 years 10 months ago

Due to the downtown area being basically not user-friendly and difficult to access any time events bring extra dollar bearing folks, I have been surprised and disappointed that more has not been done to alleviate the parking access and expense problems.

During the ball park fiasco, when so much money was being offered to support that sporting venue, I often wondered why people were not asking for parking assistance instead! If those people elected to help downtown Wilmington want to truly help, then moving forward with free or inexpensive parking, using the same gusto that was used for baseball will bring more people spending their hard earned paychecks downtown than any other attraction.

Parking and the fear of crime are the two largest deterrents to people who would like to enjoy their hometown, downtown, or historic vacation destination in Wilmington.

2015 years 10 months ago

You over looked the BEST part:

“A city spokesman says next week council will discuss having an outside consultant craft a request for proposals for the project.”
Outside consultants, studies of studies
Well you have to admire their consistency !

On a serious note down town is the showcase for the problem that New Hanover county has – lack of “develop-able” space.
The comment above wanting a grocery store is actually quite telling. A&P moved because of lack of business. People do NOT grocery shop on their lunch hour because the perishables would perish by the time they left work.
Down town needs residents
Because of lack of space they have to build ………UP
Mayfaire is cleaning down towns clock – because it’s new, well designed and not saddled by so called historic preservationists who run roughshod over building owners. They are ATTRACTING retail businesses because they integrate living and working areas into one development. They get tourists coming and going from
wrightsville!! Who wants to swim in the river? Perhaps retailers should stay open till bar closing time and catch the drunks passing by.
We have enough open space – please don’t save open space in the hopes that people will change their minds about a ball park.
Laura is just plain nuts…..


2015 years 10 months ago

“A place, not just for people to walk through as the public space, but a place to actually be on the river.” … Apparently, Ms. Padgett has completely forgotten that Riverwalk is just across the street.

“But scaling down the project means hiking up the price” … Something that the current city council has no problem doing when it comes to using other peoples money for their pet projects, which by the way, are always “downtown”.

How many more times are the “voters” going to re-elect these people back into office? Are Wilmingtonians really that masochistic?


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