Wilmington City Council approves landmark status for Giblem Lodge, Juneteenth city holiday

Wilmington City Council approves landmark status for Giblem Lodge, Juneteenth city holiday
Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 12:48 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 4, 2023 at 8:16 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The Wilmington City Council approved Giblem Lodge to become a local historic landmark and officially adopted Juneteenth as a paid city holiday at their meeting on Tuesday, April 4.

Giblem Lodge No. 2 is the first African American Masonic Lodge, built at 19 N. 8th Street in 1871.

“Giblem Lodge stands today as a symbol of the deep-rooted ancestry of Wilmington and its Black population. The Lodge since its inception has been a place of gathering, idea sharing, and community building. The structure, as well as the people that built it, and the people that continue to maintain it, is a powerful physical reminder of resiliency, agency and support of a community that has and continues to strive for an equal society,” states the application for designation.

Council declared the lodge a local historic landmark following a recommendation from the Historic Preservation Commission on March 9. Significant features of the site can’t be changed without a certificate of appropriateness issued by the Historic Preservation Commission now that it has been granted that designation.

The city has also approved a resolution to recognize Juneteenth as an official paid holiday for city employees. The Wilmington Commission on African-American History sent a letter on Feb. 3 requesting the holiday.

“The Juneteenth holiday reflects the growing recognition of its importance, not just as the end of slavery, but also as a celebration of the resilience and perseverance of African-Americans who had been enslaved for generations. It serves as a reminder of the ongoing struggle for civil rights and the need for continued efforts to combat racism, discrimination, and inequities among all people groups,” states the request.

Council unanimously approved an $867,500 bid from PBW Development LLC for the city’s surplus property on 1110 Castle Street after staff released a request for bids on Jan. 17. The property used to be Wave Transit’s operations and maintenance facility until it was released back to the city in June 2015. Officials say it sustained major damage during Hurricane Florence, and that environmental studies of the site found lead, asbestos, mold and soil contamination.

One resolution passed has increased the travel budget for City Council members Mayor Bill Saffo and Clifford Barnett by $1,000 each.

A request for the annexation of a 56-unit multi-family senior housing development was approved after being placed on the consent agenda. The 1.87-acre area is located at 5029 Carolina Beach Road. A resolution to buy a high-water rescue vehicle for $94,650 from the New Hanover Community Endowment Fund 2022 Cape Fear Opportunities and Needs Grant was also unanimously approved on the consent agenda.

Full meeting agendas are available on the city’s website.