© 2024 254 North Front Street, Suite 300, Wilmington, NC 28401 | 910.343.1640
News Classical 91.3 Wilmington 92.7 Wilmington 96.7 Southport
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

City Council to vote on funding for pedestrian and cyclist path

The three projects aim to connect nearby trails in the area, like the Cross City Trail and Greenville Loop Trail.
City of Wilmington
The three projects aim to connect nearby trails in the area, like the Cross City Trail and Greenville Loop Trail.

Wilmington City council will vote tonight on whether to ask for more money for the multi-use pathway in the neighborhoods behind UNCW.

The project would create multi-use pathways along Hooker Road and Hinton Avenue, and improve the intersection at Wrightsville Avenue and Greenville Avenue.

The goal is to connect the neighborhoods near the university to existing trails, in an effort to build out the city’s walking and biking network.

Mayor Bill Saffo said this project should have been done years ago. But the city is battling with some residents who don’t want to sell portions of their land.

“We have lost a lot of connectivity in this community because people have said, ‘No we don't want it’,” he said. “The traffic is not gonna get any easier and getting around by bike or walking is gonna be much better.”

Most of the pathway is within existing city property–but 2% of the land needed is currently owned by residents. The city plans to pay the owners the appraised value for the land.

The rest comes from permanent utility and drainage easements, and temporary construction easements.

Councilmember Charlie Rivenbark said while he supports the project, he doesn't like opposing what residents want.

“We’re the bad guy out there trying to do this thing and I don't like that,” he said.

The project has so far been funded by a federal grant through the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. The grant requires a 20% match in local funding.

But the project is still short $1.2 million.

Wilmington City Council will decide tonight if staff can go to the WMPO to ask for $960,000 more from the federal grant. The city will pay for the remaining $240,000.

If council votes in favor, city staff plan to finish the pathway by October 2024.

Grace is a multimedia journalist recently graduated from American University. She's attracted to issues of inequity and her reporting has spanned racial disparities in healthcare, immigration detention and college culture. In the past, she's investigated ICE detainee deaths at the Investigative Reporting Workshop, worked on an award-winning investigative podcast, and produced student-led video stories.