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Wilmington considers whether to fold Water Street Parking Deck

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — At tonight’s meeting, Wilmington City Council will discuss the future of a downtown fixture that could soon be history.

Wilmington has spent millions of taxpayer dollars on the Water Street Parking Deck, yet the structure faces an uncertain future.

For more than 50 years the deck has been a fixture in Downtown Wilmington, but for some in city hall it has become an eyesore.

“We haven’t decided as a council what we ought to use that piece of property for,” City Councilwoman Laura Padgett said.

At the August 6 City Council meeting, Andrews Consulting engineers presented three options for the future of the deck: Demolish it for $625,000; keep the deck running for three to five years for $675,00; or for use it for ten years at an estimated cost of $730,000.

Meanwhile City Manager Sterling Cheatham is asking for $3.3 million for the project to cover the cost of the purchase and whatever council decides to do with the deck. This despite the fact that city leaders agree that the long term future of the deck is bleak.

“I think with the right plan we could convert it to something really different immediately with the right plan,” Mayor Bill Saffo said.

Two developers have come forward to try and buy the property from the city, but at a cost lower than what the city paid for it.

“We are not going to sell that piece of property for less than we purchased it for,” Saffo said. “Obviously part of that piece of property was purchased for about $2.6 million in 2007. That piece of property was purchased specifically for open space.”

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