Wilmington Council approves budget, moves ahead with Parking Deck Project

Wilmington Council approves budget, moves ahead with Parking Deck Project

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Wilmington City Council on Tuesday approved the $169 million budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2016.

The budget does not include a tax increase for property owners, but does include an increase in stormwater fees of just under 6 percent (43 cents), from $7.23 to $7.66  for what staff calls an "average" home.

Also included in the budget, according to city staff, is funding for three additional Wilmington Police Officers, and staffing for what Police Chief Ralph Evangelous proposes as a "Real Time Crime Center", where officers can access live video from any of the 300 cameras across the city. It would be staffed by sworn officers and criminal intel analysts who would look at databases, 911 calls and social media seven days a week.

To read more information on the budget plan click here: http://bit.ly/24xFGV7

Council also approved an agreement to redevelop the downtown Water Street Parking Deck property. Included in the project is an agreement for $169,000 with AT&T to relocate utilities, which is necessary before crews demolish the current parking deck.

Council also approved an agreement to sell the air rights and lease the ground rights to the company selected to develop the property, Water Street Ventures LLC. Those two items passed Council unanimously.

A second reading will happen in July on an ordinance for more than $17 million for the project with the money going into two capital funds (Parking Facilities Capital Project Fund and Chestnut/Grace Street Project).

According to city documents, the project "will consist of the demolition of the existing Water Street Public Parking Deck and construction of a multi-story mixed use development including parking, residential and retail space.

In addition, it  will maintain access to Bijou Park and  re-connect Chestnut Street to Water Street, while  providing public space at the at the foot of Chestnut Street". The vote on this item was 6-1, with Councilman Paul Lawler voting against it.

For more information on the parking deck project click here: http://bit.ly/1FZDdYO

Conditions specify that construction must begin 90 days after sale of the property, and must be completed within 36 months after sale.

Late Tuesday night, city officials announced a news conference planned for Wednesday, June 22, at 10:30 a.m, at Maides Park. An email news release called it "a major announcement about a Wilmington property".

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