Finish what you started: Stalled private & public projects

The million dollars of bond money earmarked for a park was used to help buy back the Water Street Parking Deck instead.
The million dollars of bond money earmarked for a park was used to help buy back the Water Street Parking Deck instead.

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Throughout New Hanover County, there are a number of 'Coming Soon' signs that have been posted for years, advertising future businesses that have failed to materialize.

A couple of the most visible include the sign advertising a future movie theater near Monkey Junction, and the sign saying that a Harris Teeter is on the way to Carolina Beach.

Harris Teeter corporate tells us there are no plans to break ground in Carolina Beach in the immediate future, and declined to give further details.  The number for the proposed Belle Meade movie theater was disconnected when we called. A call to the land owner's cell phone was not returned.

These types of delays can also be frustrating for tax payers who approve bonds for projects that get seriously delayed - or never built at all.

In 2006, New Hanover County voters approved a $36 million parks and green space bond. 6 years later, some of the promised parks have yet to be built - although it appears most of the money has been spent.

While projects like Love Grove Park, the NorthSide Splash Pad, and Empie Park improvements have already been finished, the 7.5 million dollar Olsen Park project, a joint effort by the city and county, is years behind schedule.

In downtown Wilmington, the million dollars of bond money earmarked for a park was used to help buy back the Water Street Parking Deck instead. City leaders are unsure if that property will be turned into a park in the future.

Downtown resident Ian Geiger says he would use a park if there was one, but isn't entirely surprised the earmarked money hasn't translated to a downtown park. "I think that's kind of to be expected, seems to happen a lot with money we think is going to go one place, and it goes someplace else."

On WECT News at 11, we talk to Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo about plans for the downtown park. We'll also have an update on other parks bond projects that are slated to finish in the near future.

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