Children’s Museum of Wilmington to request rescinding of parking ban

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Officials of The Children’s Museum of Wilmington will ask the Wilmington City Council to amend a new parking regulation that they say impacts families with children and makes existing parking issues worse.

The ban includes non-residential parking on the 200 block of South Second Street from 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. every day of the week. The street runs parallel to two of the three historic buildings that comprise the museum complex.

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Larry Sackett, Vice President of the Museum’s Board of Directors, and Executive Director Jim Karl are scheduled to speak at an upcoming city council meeting.

Karl said that the ban will make it much more difficult for families with small children, particularly those in strollers, to visit the facility. “The lack of parking near the museum has been a long-term issue for visitors,” he said. “Losing a complete block of parking adjacent to the museum could significantly affect the museum’s finances.”

Karl told city council members at the council’s Nov. 6, 2019, meeting that there were plenty of free parking spaces on Second Street adjacent to the museum during the day. He said, “During the daytime, I think there is adequate parking on Second Street, and you are solving a problem that doesn’t exist.”

Karl says a hundred to a couple hundred people visit the museum on a typical day which would roughly equate to 50 to 100 cars so, restricting where they park could impact their business.

“Our clients are typically parents with young toddlers, so some people don’t recognize that we’re not a drop and shop as they say,” Karl said. “They have to come in, park, get the stroller, get the kids, and the diaper bag and get inside. So, it’s very difficult to do that and be parked in a parking garage a couple blocks away.”

Karl says it could be dangerous for children to walk blocks from the parking deck.

“This block right here– Orange Street,” Karl said. “They allow semis. They actually don’t allow them downtown so they turn off of Front street and come rolling up this street and they’re actually not always observing the speed limit and as cautious as some of the other drivers might be so it’s a tough spot to have kids crossing the street.”

“We had no notice that this regulation was going to be presented to the City Council,” Sackett commented.

Sackett says they found out about it through an article released by the media a few days before the council meeting. “No one talked to anyone at the museum about the proposed ban before it was voted on,” he added.

“The city is implementing a blanket change where there is no overwhelming issue,” Sackett said. “It is incredibly short-sighted of the city, and particularly the neighborhood, to not realize that we are a good quiet, neighbor.”

The next meeting is on Tuesday, January 7, at 6:30 p.m. in Council Chambers in City Hall.