Wilmington Mayor Pro Tem Margaret Haynes hopes to win a third term on City Council. While she admits a love-hate affair with public service, overall, she is proud of her contributions.
Those include improving public safety through lower crime rates, finishing the cross-city trail, getting a full-service convention center hotel, a regional soccer complex, and the completion of a nearly two-mile-long river walk.
But it’s North Riverfront Park that she most wants to finish in the next four years. The completion date, pushed out now to 2021, is also about $2 million over budget. Margaret Haynes says Hurricane Florence is a major factor.
"Well, it’s just like any construction project. The price of materials goes up. It’s like – everybody with the project after the hurricane almost a year ago – that people aren’t available. It’s much more competitive to get people, and the cost of building materials has skyrocketed."
Haynes says sea level rise, climate change, and more days of nuisance flooding – particularly those that affect downtown Wilmington – are realities people need to accept.
Part of the answer, she says, are local efforts to minimize vehicle traffic through walking and bike paths and mixed-use development that allows people to work, play, shop, and live in one area.