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After a compressed first season, checking in with Wilmington's Riverfront Park recreation manager

Riverfront Park
Benjamin Schachtman
/
WHQR
Wilmington's North Riverfront Amphitheater (recently rebranded as the Live Oak Bank Pavilion).

Riverfront Park has been open since July 4th earlier this year. WHQR spoke to Dave Pugh, the Recreation Supervisor for the park to ask him his thoughts on how things have gone this far.

Working at the park has been a wonderful experience, Pugh said. It’s something that’s been in the works for years, since 2016 when the city passed the parks bond. Voters gave the city approval to borrow money to begin $38 million in parks projects -- the lion’s share of that went to the riverfront park and venue.

While LiveNation’s amphitheater has faced some criticism over accessibility issues, Pugh says the park itself is completely ADA compliant.

“I mean, that's part of the design of the, of the park itself. We do have Ada and you know, Live Nation is the concert venue manager. And where the park manager, they have ADA services, they have ADA areas, Ada tickets, and seating where folks with disabilities can have someone you know, with them to sit with them. I think, you know, a lot of the issues probably came around the fact that there is no actual dedicated parking to riverfront park itself.”

The park has always had an ADA “drop off area”, according to Pugh, and the concern was communicating the process in those situations to park-goers.

With a new project always comes challenges, however. Familiarizing people with the park and the processes and how it's set up, this being brand new, and it being in the first season is kind of a learning process for everyone, he said. Ongoing construction in the area has caused some issues with park accessibility as well.

One thing to note is that the park had a condensed season, Pugh said. In upcoming seasons, there won’t be that many concerts happening so close to each other. The venue squeezed in 22 concerts in a span of three months when they would normally take place over a nine month period.