Wilmington City Council approves transportation and emergency management funding

In order to move forward, the WMPO requires matching funds from the NHC Board of Commissioners later this month
Published: Mar. 14, 2022 at 7:05 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Wilmington City Council members voted unanimously to approve a resolution to request federal grant funding from the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (WMPO) in the amount of $1,873,469 to fund additional costs associated with the next phase of the downtown Wilmington transport center at a meeting Tuesday evening. Approval of the resolution included agreement to provide $165,793 in matching grant funding.

Executive Director of the WMPO Mike Kozlosky presented the proposal and explained the additional request for funding was due to an increase in construction costs from the time the engineers provided an estimate, together with inflation, upfit costs and anticipated administration fees; however, the City will benefit in the long run.

“Once the building is renovated, it will continue to be a city asset,” said Kozlosky.

In order to move forward, the WMPO requires matching funds from the NHC Board of Commissioners later this month.

The money will help fund the Wilmington Multi-Modal Transportation Center Phase 1B to renovate and rehabilitate the building at 525 North 4th Street as office space for the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. Phase 1A of the plan was the completion of Padgett Station in 2020.

The $1,873,469 in federal grant requires a 20% local match comprising $165,793 from the City and $165,793 from New Hanover County.

This funding comes from the Surface Transportation Block Grant program which allocates funding to the WMPO every year. The WMPO takes applications for projects to determine where that money goes.

Emergency management funding

Council also unanimously authorized the City Manager to apply for $482,000 North Carolina Emergency Management Grant for the Wilmington Police Department to upgrade 188 intersections with manual transfer switches that will allow for backup power usage during extreme weather.

This money will also pay for a support vehicle, generators, traffic control devices and other items to maintain orderly traffic during emergencies.

Emergency Management Performance Grants allocate federal funds to agencies to prepare for and respond to emergencies. Although the City would be applying to the NC Department of Public Safety to approve the grant, the funding ultimately comes from federal sources.

Other business

Also on the agenda, the council approved an ordinance to vacate, close and repair or demolish a single-family house at 313 Queen Street built in 1935. It was identified as “Unfit for Human Habitation” and has been vacant since July 2021 according to the City of Wilmington. The motion to waive a second reading passed unanimously.

City Council agreed to some adjustments to two Retiree Healthcare Plans. One was to fix typographical errors, and the other to make retirement deductions apply to the month they are paid and not one month in advance.

Council approved appointments to boards commissions and committees. Ryan Belcher will be appointed to the Municipal Services District Advisory Committee. Bridget Tarrant and Jane Birnbach will be reappointed to the Wilmington/New Hanover County Commission for Women. McKay Siegal will be appointed to the Downtown Parking Advisory Committee. Christina Hallingse will be appointed to the Sister City Commission.

One proclamation named April 6-10 of this year “North Carolina Azalea Festival Season,” and another named March 18, 2022 “Arbor Day.”

Current and archived agendas and minutes for the Wilmington City Council can be found on its website.

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