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Wilmington Purchases Land For Riverfront Park

Managing Editor

WILMINGTON, NC - The City of Wilmington closed on a deal to purchase land on the downtown riverfront for a new park earlier this week.
According to a press released issue by the city, "On December 2, as scheduled, the City of Wilmington finalized the purchase of 6.63 acres along the northern downtown riverfront for a passive public park. The property, previously owned by Riverfront Holdings II, is part of a larger piece of the former Almont Shipping Company property. The city and Riverfront Holdings signed closing documents at City Hall for just over $3.86 million. The purchase was approved at the November 19 Council meeting."
The purchase of the property will be accomplished with a combination of revenue remaining from recently or soon to be completed capital projects, supplemented with proceeds from the Unassigned Fund Balance from the General Fund. Improvements to the property are anticipated to be made at a later date through a combination of grant funding, park bond proceeds, and revenue that has, potentially, lapsed from other projects.
The placement of a public park along the riverfront is consistent with the Vision 2020 Downtown Plan, which states: “The lack of downtown parks and open space has a critical impact on the urban environment. Without inviting recreation opportunities or public gathering places, the reasons for visiting or staying downtown are reduced for both local residents and tourists.” More information can be found here.
Events that could take place at the new park include the downtown concert series, Azalea Festival Concerts, Riverfest Performances, events such as road races and marathons, ArtWalk, the Rims on the River Car Show, Farmer's Market and others.
According to City Manager Sterling Cheatham, the proposed park property is in an area where, for many years, industrial uses occupied the waterfront. The property has gone through a stringent Brownfield designation process that has identified contaminants. As a part of the designation process, the developer is required to take steps designed to contain and encapsulate the contaminants. Those steps will be completed as a part of the purchase agreement and all Brownfield development rights will transfer with the property.