‘Downtown Alive’ project thrives as business alliance asks for extension

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)–It has been nearly two months since the ‘Downtown Alive’ project kicked off in Wilmington and businesses say it has been a hit.

“I would say it has increased business double at least,”says Circa 1922 General Manager Julia Ross.

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The project was created to give businesses in downtown Wilmington a lifeline during the peak struggles of covid-19. Restaurants say it not only helped them keep afloat, but was a much needed boost for everyone in downtown.

“I think it’s huge for us you know let alone the extra seating, I think it’s more the marketing that goes into downtown alive,”says Bourbon Street General Manager Matt McBride. “It’s something to do it and brings people down here. Some of the retailers are bringing their wares and having stuff on the streets. It brings more foot traffic, so we really enjoy it all around.”

The project has had so much success, that the Wilmington Downtown Business Alliance is now asking the city for a date extension. The original plan was supposed to expire on September 7th, but now the alliance is asking to keep the project going until November. Businesses say it is a no-brainer at this point.

“Absolutely I would support it yes,”Ross says. “We are definitely pushing for it, with the weather being so nice pretty much year around here. I think it would be crazy to not expand it.”

Some local businesses hope this idea is something that might catch on for years to come in downtown.

“Well, I’d say after the success why would they ever stop it,”said McBride. “You know everybody loves it down here. They might be losing some parking, but they’re gaining it in taxes from the businesses.”

The Wilmington Downtown Business Alliance tells us they hope to have a response from the city council on whether the project will be extended by September 1st.