County Commissioner shares thoughts on upcoming vote for Project Grace
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - On Monday, Aug. 7, New Hanover County commissioners will vote on an amended development agreement to change the look of a block in downtown Wilmington.
In partnership with Cape Fear Development, Project Grace is a plan to transform a block by building a new public library and museum.
The amended development agreement will save the county $4.6 million in estimated costs. The upcoming meeting will give commissioners the opportunity to vote on the approval of the amended development.
“Roughly a $5 million decrease in the costs. without sacrificing any of the things that are important to us. We’re always looking at doing value engineering and trying to find ways to make the project more feasible, but at the same time, deliver what we’re looking for and make things more palatable for citizens here as well. And I think that what our team has come up with will deliver on that promise of having a dynamic facility for both a museum and a library,” said County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield, Jr.
Along with a library and museum, plans have been made to create a mixed use development once the new spaces are built. Barfield said he feels the new developments will be a positive for the local area.
“A destination number one for both our visitors as well as folks who live in our community. Number two is going to be a great meeting place for folks who want to meet up downtown. But number three is going to provide a different type of use for that block. Right now that block is pretty much under-utilized, we’ll have the library on one corner, and then some mixed use development on the other corner, possibly some residential units near as well as office space. But it’s really going to bring that whole block to life,” he explains.
In total, the project will cost the county nearly $56 million.
“Although books are online, many folks come here to utilize our library for so many different functions, not just reading, but also for meeting places as well. And then you look at the museum, what a great learning environment for our youth as well as folks who live in our community having grown up here, for me, the museum was the destination when I was in fourth grade to learn about our great community. And so that for me, there are no downsides. It just upsides in terms of providing a user friendly space number one that’s up to date with technology that will deliver to our citizens,” Barfield, Jr. adds.
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