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City Council approves $3.9-million for downtown park

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Downtown Wilmington could have a very different appearance in the not so distant future after city council approved a $3.9-million dollar purchase of 6.3 acres on the downtown riverfront.

“It’s a historic moment the city has been looking for parkland along our riverfront for many years,” said Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo.

After years of searching the Wilmington City Council has found a home for a planned park along the north end of the historic downtown riverfront.

Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo says the plan is laid out in the vision 2020 plan.

“We’d like to keep it more passive in nature and probably include some type of amphitheater type of facility where you can have concerts down there if you’d like,” said Saffo. “We’re also going to look at different types of programs and that’s something we’ll be evaluating and taking a look at.”

At least one taxpayer isn’t happy with the council’s newest purchase.

Paige Freeman says the city swung and missed when they tried to buy the property to build a taxpayer funded ballpark, and needs to accept that they struck out with voters.

“I think it’s a misuse of taxpayer dollars,” said Paige Freeman. “I think a venture of this type should be done by the private sector that can more soundly develop it with no cost or liability to the taxpayer.”

“I don’t think it’s a waste of taxpayer dollars,” said Saffo. “I think the citizens are going to be the biggest benefactors of that because they’re going to enjoy it.”

Saffo says that council will take recommendations from Wilmington residents at upcoming meetings as they try to decide their vision for the park property.

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