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Wilmington City Council Reluctantly Approves Downtown Alive Extension

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Vince Winkel
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Downtown Alive started as a 45-day special event, scheduled through Labor Day. It will now end Oct. 18.

Wilmington’s Downtown Alive project has been extended through mid-October. That’s the initiative that opened downtown streets for expanded restaurant seating during the pandemic. City leaders approved the extension unanimously -- but reluctantly. 

Downtown Alive started as a 45-day special event, scheduled through Labor Day. At the Tuesday, Sept. 1 City Council meeting, council members approved a requested extension to the program, but expressed concerns that it directly benefits only a dozen or so businesses. 

Mayor Bill Saffo:

“I will say that there's going to be a thorough evaluation of any kind of closure of streets. I don't have a problem doing it on a temporary basis, but when you come in and you start trying to do it on a permanent basis, which there may be a call for that -- I have a serious issue with that.”

Funding for the extension comes from donations by participating restaurants, the Downtown Business Alliance, and funds from the city’s canceled 4th of July fireworks. 

Other major agenda items at the council meeting included an agreement with Live Nation to manage the amphitheater at Greenfield Lake, as well as funding for a contract with Wave Transit’s restructuring consultant. Both of those items, however, were postponed by council until the Tuesday, Sept. 15 meeting.