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Florence Brings Higher Costs, Fewer Features to North Waterfront Park

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Nick Santillo
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The North Waterfront Park will be located along the Cape Fear River, between the Isabel Holmes Bridge and the Port City Marina.

Wilmington is moving ahead on the North Waterfront Park project. That’s despite a multimillion dollar budget increase and fewer features than initially planned. City Council approved several measures related to the $30 million downtown riverfront development last night. 

The new project budget is a significant increase from the initial $20 million estimate. Site improvements and construction cost inflation from Hurricane Florence can be thanked for the price hike, according to city staff. 

To save money, a floating dock and public artwork will be omitted from the park. Main amenities, like the Live Nation concert stage, remain.

Wilmington Communications Manager Malissa Talbert says the city is already seeing economic growth from the project. Since the land purchase in 2013, she says all of the properties directly surrounding the lot have been or will be developed.

“So there was a clear correlation there... that follows a very clear parallel that we've seen in other cities where you have large urban parks like this. They draw not just events and people from around the region, and certainly around the city, but they truly are economic drivers as well.”

Over $11 million will come from the city’s debt service to fund the project. The venue is set to be ready by the 2021 concert season.