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Downtown Summit asks for input from the community

READ MORE: Downtown Summit asks for input from the community

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Local community leaders are joining forces to tackle one big problem -- downtown Wilmington. From the bar scene to parking problems, people got the chance to voice their concerns at the Downtown Summit.

Different organization and community leaders are the people that Wilmington Downtown Incorporated is counting on to make a change.

John Hinnant is the Executive Director for WDI and said, "Once we tally the results the group that was on the stage can quickly disseminate the information to the panelists and someone can emerge as a leader on these issues."

The Downtown Summit held Wednesday night gave local community leaders and members the chance to say where they think downtown needs to improve. A ballot was given to those in attendance so they could pick what areas need improving. A powerpoint presentation helped reflect the value of downtown Wilmington. According to the presentation, the Central Business District brings in around $12,000 per acre in tax revenue.
Some people say the issue goes beyond the money. Many say the real problem is keeping downtown safe.

Do It Downtown's Tom Harris said, "The real problem is law enforcement resources because we only have four officers assigned to downtown on Friday and Saturday nights prior to 1:30 a.m."

WDI is looking for one voice made up of many organizations that can help revamp, revitalize and maintain a safe environment. Some say it's time to put their foot down.

Dave Spetrino is with WDI and said, "Maybe if you have a reputation of 'Hey, come downtown and have a great time, but if you screw up you're not coming back anymore.' Whether it's better communication with our students at the colleges or our police officers going 'Listen, if I ever see you guys out again I'm busting you.' I don't know if you can say that but I'd say it anyway."

Another Downtown Summit is planned for January. Commuity leaders hope by then they'll have a leader and some answers on how to make downtown Wilmington a better place.

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