Dozens against Project Grace proposal


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It’s a project that could change the face of downtown. Dozens of people don’t want Project Grace.

“They cannot take the library away from the children of Wilmington, and when he says, ‘We won’t take it from them,’ they’re talking about putting it somewhere else. No, this is their home,” Roxanne Torre said.

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Project Grace calls for the demolition of the library, the removal of the Story Park and the destruction of the historic building that formerly housed the Register of Deeds. You may remember, Story Park opened just less than a year ago. A county spokeswoman says none of the plans for the area would move library services from the downtown location.

The county says the goal of the project is to help expand as more people come to the area, but some believe the county is forgetting about those who already live here.

“Why should they be able to invest money in Wilmington on what they think is important before money gets spent on what we think is important?” Dawson Gage said.

“It lends to the idea that the people, the community is an afterthought to development and to other people. If this place is a home to people’s childhoods and their creativity, of course if it goes away, they’re going to realize that they’re concerns aren’t first on the list and they can sense that and I can sense it,” Devon Scott said.

County commissioners want people to know they are listening to the community’s suggestions.

“These are concepts that are all here. What we have is a huge opportunity as a community, and your commissioners understand that, and we’re getting the input that we need now to make, I think, a good community decision,” New Hanover County Commissioner Rob Zapple said.

The county commission meeting on October 2 is when they will discuss the public-private partnership for the Grace Street project plan.

They will have two more meetings to hear from the public: Monday at 6 p.m. at the New Hanover Public Library, in the Hanover Room, and Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Cape Fear Museum in the Williston Auditorium.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify some aspects of the plans and the schedule of the next steps.