WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Wilmington Downtown, Inc. introduced its new president and CEO to the community Wednesday.
Ed Wolverton will take the helm of the non-profit economic development group Nov. 1.
He comes to the Port City from Greensboro, where he led a similar organization.
Wolverton believes Wilmington has many assets important to downtown development including a great riverfront, stock of historic buildings, educational anchor in Cape Fear Community College, and a "great foodie culture."
As WDI President, he plans to begin meeting immediately with the organization's nearly 150 members.
Wolverton said he wants to make sure everyone is coalescing behind common goals and that WDI is aligning resources to turn the ambitions into reality.
The economic developer resigned his position with Downtown Greensboro, Inc. July 1, according to The Triad Business Journal. The paper said his resignation came after months of public debate in which city council members stated that Wolverton and his organization didn't have the vision to guide downtown development.
"How do you measure cool? That's a subjective measure for sure," Wolverton said Wednesday when asked about the conflict with his previous position.
"Downtown Wilmington, I think, already is cool," he said.
Greensboro has "a lot of local political dynamics at play," he said.
Wolverton added that during his tenure in Greensboro, he worked with three mayors, three city managers, and four city attorneys.
"It was really not the most stable place in the world for some of the public policy decisions and activities that were underway there, so my organization was navigating through all those changes in this time and that kind of continuity gets difficult to maintain itself over time," he said.
Wolverton cited several accomplishments during his time in Greensboro, including a 75 percent increase in downtown residents as well as the siting of a performing arts center and greenway.
Clark Hipp, chair of the WDI board of directors, wouldn't disclose Wolverton's salary. He said it is in line with pay in similarly sized cities.
WDI is partially funded by the City of Wilmington and New Hanover County. The development organization also relies on private donations, according to its website.
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