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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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