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ONLY ON 3: Failing downtown bulkhead means 2014 riverfront closure

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It’s one of the best known and most visited sites in historic downtown Wilmington. But some recent events have left engineers with a sinking feeling when it comes to the bulkhead under the Riverwalk.

We first reported last month the Coast Guard says the bulkhead is unstable. Now WWAY has learned the situation may be worse than originally thought.

The Wilmington Riverwalk is a draw for tourist and locals alike, many of whom enjoy a stroll and other highlights.

“I like that it’s old, and I like being right on the water right here,” Wilmington resident Zach Isidro said. “It’s calm and relaxing. It’s just a good view out here on the water where you can see the Battleship.”

But Coast Guard engineers have discovered that the bulkhead under the Riverwalk is failing and in desperate need of repair.

“In 2014, when this gets underway, we’re talking a closure of the block that is in front of the federal courthouse there,” city spokesman Dylan Lee said. “We’re going to redo it, and there is going to be new water and sewer going in, new street surface, new curbing, new sidewalks. That’s not to mention all of the work that’s underneath the coast guard property with the bulkhead.”

Though some see the 2014 closure of Riverfront Park as a bump in the road, or in this case a whole in the ground, many community leaders say that in the long term it’s worth it.

“In the end it’s going to be a great thing,” Wilmington Downtown Inc.’s John Hinnant said. “The park is going to be remodeled, and it’s going to be beautiful. It’s going to be gorgeous. I think it’s going to become a real source of community pride for everyone.”

Lee said, “For the future development we’re going to have better infrastructure underneath. That needs to happen to modernize our downtown and stay true to surface of the historic character.”

The Coast Guard will close parts of the Riverwalk during the third week of July so that it can survey the extent of the damaged bulkhead. That means the Downtown Sundown concert will be cancelled that week.

More: continued here

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