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CAPE FEAR MEMORIAL BRIDGE: Updates, resources, and context

Wilmington City Council scraps Castle Street affordable housing plan, approves $2.4 million transportation request

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Wilmington City Hall

At its Tuesday night meeting, Wilmington City Council scrapped a request for proposals for an affordable housing project on a city-owned property on Castle Street – and approved $2.4 million in multi-use path projects.

The original request for proposal was developed in 2019 for redevelopment of city-owned property located at 1110 Castle Street. After several iterations, including a short-lived spark of interest from a possible non-profit spinoff of Tru Colors, a proposal from Hipp Architecture and Development, PC in partnership with Cape Fear Land Trust and Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity emerged — and then eventually fell apart.

At its October 19, 2021 meeting, council requested that the original applicant present a new proposal. On December 15, 2021, the applicant withdrew their proposal – and no other applications were submitted.

Staff originally wanted to sell the property and City Manager Tony Caudle says it's still an option.

“That was the staff's original proposal on this, but we wanted to go back through the process of the RFP process as council previously described," he said.

Another option is a new request-for-proposals, which could be put out in the early Spring. One possible candidate is Genesis Block — CEO Girard Newkirk has expressed his interest in redeveloping the block in the past.

On the transportation front, the city looked at improvement projects inlcuding the Hooker Road Multi-Use path, the Hinton Avenue Multi-Use path, and the Wrightsville Avenue/Greenville intersection.

The city requested an additional $2.4 million from the Wilmington Metropolitan Planning Organization — the agency that directs state-level funding to local projects for the great Wilmington area. The increased request from the WMPO would also require the city to match $600,000 of the $3 million total project cost.

Councilman Charlie Rivenbark expressed his concern about the urgency of Hooker Road.

“I want Hooker Road done so bad, that things had many birthdays. The other ones are much newer, but Hooker Road we’ve been doing that for ten years," he said.

All three project designs are close to completion, but there is still more work to do before construction can start.

Ashley Brown is from from Houston, TX. She holds a BA in Mass Communication from Sam Houston State University and an MA in Professional Communication and Digital Media from Texas Southern University. Her love of news, radio, and entertainment led her to the field of journalism. As a creative person, she loves the journalistic challenge of putting stories together. And as a future news reporter, she hopes to tell stories that reach and affect people. In her spare time, she enjoys music, reading, journaling, spending time with friends and family, and trying out new brunch places to eat.