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Wilmington City Council still torn about Water Street parking deck

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Christopher Bias,commons.wikimedia.org
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The long-debated fate of downtown Wilmington's Water Street parking deck will stretch out another week. On Tuesday, the city council approved $670,000 to repair the parking garage but the vote failed a second reading, which means it will have to be voted on again at next week's city council meeting.

A resolution to spend the money to repair and continue generating revenue from the city-owned deck, located on Water Street between Grace and Chestnut, was on the table.

But Councilperson Laura Padgett says the parking garage has been a problem for too long. She purposed spending money to tear down the top portion of the deck to start making way for the property's future.

“It looks bad," said Padgett. "It looks like a city that isn't thinking beyond the 1950s, 1960s, and doesn't have any interest in innovation in parks, in beautiful gardens on the riverfront. We haven't done it and we've talked about it for decades. It's time for this to come down and look like we're getting ready to do something with it.” 

Councilperson Kevin O'Grady said it's more economical to pay for repairs and continue collecting parking fees for the next three to five years, giving the city time to consider all its options for what do to with the space. According to city staff, the deck has 360 spaces, and at its peak use, 49 percent is being utilized.