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Business owners excited about increased foot traffic Riverfront Park will bring to area

The Riverfront Park Amphitheater is set for its grand opening
Published: Jul. 1, 2021 at 3:28 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - July 4th, 2021 — the start of a new era for the north side of Wilmington.

The Riverfront Park Amphitheater is set for its grand opening.

“It’s been really amazing to see the transformation of this side of town,” said Dylan Lee, who’s a spokesperson for the city of Wilmington. “This kind of growth brings with it all kinds of opportunity.”

Opportunity is something Eli Wain is banking on. He’s owned the Throwback Bakery in the Brooklyn Arts District for the past several months. That district has avenues that spill their way into the amphitheater. As it’s a neighborhood that still has free parking, he thinks there’s going to be a big boost to foot traffic exploring that area.

“We’re very excited,” said Wain. “It’s just a really nice neighborhood and there’s so much to do. There’s just a bunch of hidden gems.”

Rodney Robbins can’t wait to see what the future has in store. He’s owned the Brooklyn Café for the past four years. The growth Wilmington is seeing is something that’s been an ongoing evolution.

“Oh, absolutely; it’s been incredible,” said Robbins. “The increase in street traffic and the new customers. It just enhances the area and will be a great thing.”

Dylan Lee wants people to pack a little patience coming to the grand opening on Sunday. The gates will open on the family-friendly event, starting at 1 p.m. Families who are coming to check out Wilmington’s newest downtown attraction will be entertained with live music, comedians, activities for the kids, and a local beer garden.

“It’s a jammed-packed day with things wrapping up at 8 p.m. That will give people time to head downtown to see the July Fourth fireworks.”

Thousands are expected for this year’s Independence Day celebrations. Last year, the city’s fireworks display was put on hold because of COVID.

For people heading into town, the city wants you to prepare for an hour to two hours getting back home once everything wraps up.

“There’s plenty of parking, that’s not expected to be an issue,” said Lee. “There are plenty of options for people. Cape Fear Community College will be providing $15 parking that’s cash only. The on-street parking is free. The city decks are $7, the convention center decks are $8. There’s plenty of parking, so if you want to come to the concerts and fireworks, be patient and come early.”

Here’s additional information provided by the City of Wilmington to WECT.

Traffic Tips:

  • Arrive early and consider your exit strategy prior to parking.
  • Expect 1-to-2-hour delays leaving downtown after the fireworks due to large volumes of traffic.
  • Vehicles should park on the side of downtown (with Red Cross Street being the dividing line) that is closest to the direction they will travel after the fireworks have ended.
  • Traffic parked south of Red Cross Street will be diverted south towards Market Street, Dawson Street, and the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge - includes city parking decks in the 100 block of Market Street, the 100 block of North 2nd Street, as well as the county deck in the 200 block of North 2nd Street and the CFCC deck at Nutt and Red Cross.
  • Traffic parked north of Red Cross Street will be diverted north towards MLK Parkway and the Isabel Holmes Bridge – includes the Wilmington Convention Center parking deck at 515 Nutt St. and the CFCC deck at 3rd Street and Hanover Street
  • Those using parking decks can expect longer delays due to high volumes exiting at once.
  • No standing, stopping, or parking on bridges, roadways or along medians on route 17, 74/76, 133 or 421 – police will monitor these areas and towing will be enforced.
  • For traffic information call 511 or visit the NCDOT TIMS website at https://drivenc.gov/

Other Helpful Information:

  • Pets are not allowed downtown during special events where large crowds are present and streets are closed.
  • There will be a boating safety zone for 30 minutes after the fireworks around the launch site. No thru-boating traffic will be allowed.
  • Beach Chairs (with legs no longer than 9 inches) and blankets will be allowed in the Great Lawn of Riverfront Park, no chairs or blankets allowed in the Beer Garden.
  • Fireworks will not be visible from Riverfront Park. The best viewing will be from the Riverwalk.

To learn more about the Riverfront Park Amphitheater, click here.

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