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Downtown Wilmington may be expanding again

READ MORE: Downtown Wilmington may be expanding again
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From the Gateway Project, to the Cape Fear Community College Bond Referendum, it seems like development is everywhere in downtown Wilmington. Last night the City Council agreed to invest $7 million in the area just north of the convention center. Both Mayor Saffo and local residents are excited by the downtown development. Riverfront Holdings is currently working on the new convention center. But they have created a $750 million plan for the land right next door. The plans include hotels, a marina, office space, and condos. Riverfront Vice President of Development, Steven Shuttleworth, believes the development will shape the future downtown. “I think you're going to see a new downtown on the north end, which would be more office and retail versus the wonderful historic district.” After Wednesday night's City Council meeting, it seems like the city agrees. They approved $7 million to cover half the cost of building the bulkhead around the marina, and to improve area streets. But Mayor Saffo said the most important part of the deal is extending the Riverwalk. “A lot of the tourists that visit our community, whether they are staying at Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach or Kure Beach, or if they're just visiting our community in historic downtown, all comment how beautiful our downtown is and how beautiful our Riverwalk is. It's really become a crown jewel.” The city will eventually expand the Riverwalk to reach the Isabell Holmes Bridge as part of the 20/20 plan. Most residents say the development is great for the city. “The construction, the reconstruction, and the improvements. I believe that brings along jobs also and I'm just all for it,” said Leonard McCall, a local resident. However, some say it is becoming too much of a good thing. “It's getting a little too crowded. I moved here 9 years ago and I kind of liked it better when it was less crowded, less buildings, less development,” said Gene Hroncich. To help deal with the increased traffic, the city expects to accompany the new development by expanding Nutt Street. City Council will vote for final approval of the plan at its next meeting, in the second week of November.

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RE: $7 million

This was an excellent decision for City Council. This development will bring about hundreds of jobs for downtown helping out our local economy. These workers will reinvest that money into other downtown businesses helping them recover from our sour economy. Sometimes you need to invest money even when you don't have it to promote future growth.

Invest money you don't have?

Isn't that what got us into the financial meltdown we're in now? I'd like to invest in my IRA that just lost thousands, can I borrow some money from you? "Hundreds of jobs for downtown", "These workers will reinvest that money into other downtown businesses". Obama has already spoken for the money people want to invest.

This mindset is what caused

This mindset is what caused the economic mess that we're in. You don't gamble with other people's money (unless they are willing and informed investors). You are supposed to base financial decisions for tomorrow on what you can afford today!

Re: mindset

You do gamble with other people's money. That is HOW you make money in the first place and that's exactly what the city has to do. These developers are good smart developers. They will add a solid workforce during the development and building of this project. The problem with people like you, is that you're too short term. Think long term - what's best for the area after you're dead and gone? A wasteland of valuable real estate or a development project adding jobs and money to the local economy. You've made your decision - now sit back, relax and let the big boys play the game. If you can't take the heat - I40 also runs West.

Downtown vs. New Hanover County Schools

Downtown receives 7 million to revitalize while New Hanover County Schools cut back??? What's wrong with this picture???? Now intellectual idiots can enjoy the pleasures of a marina, office spaces and condos? I think not! It takes a quality education to afford amenities such as these. Where are our values people!!!???

The Money???

This all sounds great, and I'm all for Downtown revitalization, but does the city have the money? In these troubled economic times, will the debt become an unnecessary burden for the taxpayers?

Money

Sure they have the money, its called Taxes, and they are going to take it from the people least able to give it.

City Council Vacancy

Concerned about rising taxes, crime and being annexed because City Council cares more about these real estate projects and convention centers than they do about your pocketbook and rapes downtown... These were the issues I heard berger address in recent forums and on the radio. There's a guy who gets it - the BIG PICTURE - but not the votes of Saffo and the developers. This weeks election gaurantees higher taxes, annexation and spending on waste. You blew that opportunity...but maybe we can get Berger onto city council...he'd shake things up and stand up for taxpayers...which nobody's gonna do with Thompson leaving. He was the only one who occassionally opposed forced annexation and wasteful spending. Berger seems like an excellent fit.

Annexation

Thats how they will do it!!! Try to put people like me that chose NOT to live in the city, rarely goes downtown(too many teeny boppers), annex me and double my taxes and I've got all I need in my 5 mile area... That convention center has been a thorn in Wilmingtons side... sorry city peeps, its out of your pocket, till they win the fight in mine!

crybabys

I am sick and tired of hearing people complain about raising taxes. Are we supposed to live in the 19th century because certain people dont want to pay extra tax. Higher taxes come with living in the city. You know, being close to shops, stores, restaurants, entertainment, etc. It is very convenient. You can always move to the outskirts of town or the country and drive an hour to get to civilization, like the old days but then you would complain about the gas. Cities grow, it wont change. You on the other hand should expect it and be prepared for this and budget accordingly. Simple as that.

You don't know what you're

You don't know what you're talking about. The country with the highest tax rate in North Carolina is Scotland County - a very rural area. They have a smattering of fast-food franchises, two strip malls and a WalMart. In fact the tax rate is so high they scared away most of their industries (along with their well-paying factory jobs) nearly 10 years ago. The place is littered with vacant industrial buildings. Now they have to entertain the idea of paying out incentives to entice new industries to move in, when they should have just kept the tax rate low and not have lost the industries they already had. Jobs are scarce, people move away or go on welfare - less tax revenue, so raise the taxes some more. See where this is going? BTW we do pay for our city conveniences. Every time we shop, eat out, go to a movie, etc. we pay a sales tax. And don't forget property taxes. [Do you own any property?] If our local government themselves knew how to budget it should be enough. Simple as THAT.

Concerned

It's not the idea of paying more taxes that concerns me, I don't mind that because I think only good can come from all this expansion and revitalization. What bothers me is that the city is having to make cuts in employment because there's no money in the budget for them to keep jobs or hire new positions, and yet they've got $7 million to spend on new construction. I think that's unfortunate.

This still does not help

This still does not help with all of the crime going on downtown. Okay lets invest millions despite the fact that there are multiple robberies, rapes, and attacks going on unpunished in the area. Look at the big picture.

Wilmington's crime rate

is not that bad. Not if you eliminate the crime reported in the projects such as Creekwood. You want extra police officers. Hold parents accountable for their children's behaviour at school. There was a time when schools did not have police officers assigned to every school in the county. Parents were held accountable for the child and his performance at school. Act up and there was such a thing as suspension or expulsion. Now, society wrings its hands and worries about the youngster's "right" to an education. If the youngster packs a weapon to school, whether it be a knife, gun, or attitude, throw him or her out. Make them get a job and work on their attitude. Let them apply for readmission to school and let the parents continue to be accountable. Frees up a lot of police resource officers who can then patrol the streets.

Not enough officers in downtown/historic area now!

What a wonderful idea.... let's bring more people to get robbed, raped, or murdered in an area that does not have enough police officers to cover it now. Amazingly, there are no funds to hire more officers to work this area. Also, the ones that are working now have been told that they will not get their raises this year due to the budget crisis. Wow, this really sounds like a great idea to spend money on expanding the crime walk! Great management guys!

7 Million?!

And where are these dollars coming from when the City is already facing a budget shortfall?...I almost forgot...my pocket and YOURS!

Good...

"Last night the City Council agreed to invest 7 million dollars in the area just north of the convention center. Both Mayor Saffo and local residents are excited by the downtown development." ...then let the downtown residents, Bill Saffo, and his cronies pay for damn thing. I'm tired of my taxes going up...which this boondoggle, like the Convention Center, will cause...once again. When the City comes up short, do they cut non-essential's from the budget? No...they raise our taxes. And where are the cost savings since the City and County merged the water and sewer? Talk about a duplication of personnel and services! Not one employee lost their job...they ADDED high-priced management! Remember...it's not that long until the next election.