Taking a trip through Wilmington is like watching the previews at a movie theater. With plenty of projects like the convention center and a marina already underway, and several more in planning, you get a sneak peak into the city's future. One of the big projects in planning is the North Third Street Streetscape. “This is a gateway into the community, and by enhancing this gateway it will improve the aesthetics of the area, it will help to spur redevelopment, and investment into northern downtown,” said Mike Kozlosky of the Metropolitan Planning Organization. Some of that investment is already underway. In just a few months, Marriott will beak ground on a new hotel planned to open in 2010. That should coincide with the opening of the new convention center. The downtown development should help lure more companies like PPD and Corning to the Port City. The future won't be all work and no play. As part of vision 2020 the city plans to expand the river walk from bridge to bridge. Even though it's yet to be completed, visitors are already praising the idea. With so many plans for new development, the city will face the challenge of holding onto it's past. “Our downtown is rich with supporters who preserve and take pride in historic properties,” said John Hinnant. Placing value on the past should continue to draw newcomers to the area. It seems like everyone supports the city's ongoing development, even residents of Old Wilmington, a community group that supports historic preservation said they are happy with the re-development that will support the south side historic district of Wilmington. And the city has taken measures to preserve the district. Plans for the Gateway Project recently made several concessions that included a designated area for parkland.
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