Wilmington leaders approve American Rescue Plan funding, including film workforce training

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington City Council met on Tuesday, discussing and making decisions on a number of issues.

City leaders allocated $400,000 for a program that will train workers looking to get into the film industry.

The money comes from the American Rescue Plan. The City of Wilmington received a total of $25.9M in relief funds.

The program will work with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the Governor’s Council of Film, TV, and Digital Streaming, Screen Gems, and others in the area.

Around 90 people will get to participate in a paid apprenticeship, getting experience behind the camera. It is the first program of its kind in the state.

“We’re having a banner year, one of the greatest years ever, not only here in Wilmington but also in the state of North Carolina,” said Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo. “And one of the things that we said we would work on would be to put more diversity into the workforce that is working in the film industry. So this is an opportunity for us to train that workforce.”

One of the goals of the program is to train women and minorities.

City council allocated $125,000 from the American Rescue Plan for an agreement with the Northside Food Co-op to provide food distribution to residents within an area identified as a food desert.

“Establishing that food co-op on the Northside is a very important initiative for the community, it’s a very important initiative for the city council,” Saffo said.

Council also approved $100,000 for an agreement with Coastal Horizons to provide substance abuse aide.

“We were identified as one of the top places in the country for substance abuse, especially with opioid addiction,” Saffo said. “This helps those folks that are out there trying to help people get off of drugs and off of opioids.”

A total of $625,000 in American Rescue Plan funds were approved at Tuesday’s meeting.

Council also approved a resolution that could impact the demolition of historic buildings in the City of Wilmington. Leaders are exploring ways to protect buildings that fall outside the city’s historic preservation district downtown.

Under the proposed rule, anyone looking to demolish a historic building that falls outside of that area would have a one year waiting period. This would allow organizations like the Historic Wilmington Foundation time to come up with a solution to save the structure.

“In late 2018 we relocated a bungalow from the early 20th century that was in the 300 block of Bladen St, relocated it to North 4th Street and it opened like last week as a restaurant in the thriving Brooklyn Arts District,” said Historic Wilmington Foundation executive director Travis Gilbert. “So that’s a great alternative to demolition.”

The city will have to get permission from the North Carolina General Assembly before holding a public hearing and moving forward.

Council also made a declaration recognizing the 1898 massacre ahead of several events planned over the next two weeks. Those who have made donations to the city’s tree initiative were also recognized.

You can read more details on the items discussed here.

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