Wilmington City Council held its second regular meeting of January and first up, council received an update from the Wilmington Housing Authority, including progress on returning residents displaced by mold remediation back to their homes and the agency’s intention to redevelop their properties in the future.
“Preservation of our stock, rehabilitation of our stock, and redevelopment of our housing stock,” said Tyrone Garrett, executive director of the Wilmington Housing Authority. “We have three priority locations: Solomon Towers, Hillcrest and Houston Moore.”
Next, council awarded a construction contract for section one of the Greenville Loop Trail, which will run along Holly Tree Road from College Road to Pine Grove Drive.
Construction on this voter-approved bond project will begin in March and is expected to finish by the end of the year.
The additional sections of this trail will get underway later this year. When complete, the Greenville Loop Trail will stretch the length of Greenville Loop Road and down Holly Tree Road to College Road.
Next, council appropriated $55,000 from the New Hanover Community Endowment to purchase sport wheelchairs for the city’s athletics program.
Currently, every child in the city’s basketball program has the opportunity to give wheelchair basketball a try.
By encouraging children to take part, athletics staff hopes to promote inclusion and further normalize adaptive sports, and to eventually offer more program options to disabled residents.
“Offering adaptive sports removes barriers to access to athletics for our citizens and when typically abled athletes participate, it brings awareness to adaptive sports. It builds understanding and empathy,” said Andrea Talley, the supervisor for the city’s athletics programs.
Lastly, council appropriated $750,000 to enter into an offer to purchase a 12.5-acre campus at the north end of downtown.
The ordinance allows for a fully refundable $500,000 deposit which provides the city with 120 days to evaluate all aspects of the potential acquisition. The ordinance also provides $250,000 in order to conduct due diligence on the property.
Formerly home to PPD, the site includes 370,000-square-feet of office space and a 1,000-space parking deck.
This site could provide the city with a cost-effective solution to its long-term space needs, allowing the consolidation of departments under one roof, and save millions of dollars spent on the upkeep of aging buildings.
“The space needs study has revealed that we are getting further and further and further behind with regard to space needs downtown,” said City Manager Tony Caudle. “We have not done anything for the downtown offices and it is clear from our perspective that we need to do something with regard to getting that space renovated or replaced as soon as possible.”
If purchased, the city would divest itself of numerous properties, but Thalian Hall would not be sold and would remain as-is. Police, fire and the operations center would also remain in their current specialized facilities.
City Council will me again on Feb. 7th at 6:30 p.m. For more on this meeting, visit WilmingtonNC.gov.