WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Wilmington City Council unanimously approved a resolution declaring Optimist Park as surplus property during its meeting on Tuesday allowing the city to sell Optimist Park.
Optimist Park sits at 1650 South Front Street, just a few miles from downtown and across the street from the city’s parks and recreation maintenance facility. The park has a total footprint of 11.3 acres with three ball fields, a press box, and restrooms.
The park, which is less than 2,000 feet from the Cape Fear River, is in a floodplain and is constantly plagued by flooding, poor drainage, environmental regulations associated with the property’s historic use and designation as a landfill. Additionally, the NCDOT will likely use some of the property for its proposed project to expand South Front Street.
For these reasons, the city council proposed a resolution to declare Optimist Park as surplus and allow the city to sell it. The property was assessed in 2018 for $350,000.
One of the suitors could be the N.C. Ports, which has previously expressed interest in purchasing the property to use as a buffer between port activity and residential development.
According to the agenda associated with Tuesday’s meeting, port officials have submitted a proposal to purchase the park at the assessed value of $350,000, conditional on the property having a clean deed with no restrictions, and the city is working with the port to get reimbursement from NCDEQ for its pre-regulatory landfill program.