Wilmington City Council approves first phase of Water Street, Riverwalk improvements

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A view down Water Street at the foot of Market Street. Beyond the building at rear is the mooring of the Henrietta III riverboat.
A view down Water Street at the foot of Market Street. Port City Daily file photo.

Wilmington City Council has approved a $2.4 million construction contract for the first phase of improvements to Water Street and Riverfront Park, which include streetscape improvements, bulkhead repairs to support the Riverwalk and stormwater improvements.

“Original project boundaries were from Market Street to its intersection with Princess Street,” said Richard King, the city’s deputy manager. “However, due to issues that the Coast Guard are having with their bulkhead we’re going to break this project into two phases.”

Phase one construction was awarded to New Bern-based Trader Construction Co., which will work on stormwater improvements at the Water Street and Princess Street intersection, along with replacing the failing bulkhead at the foot of Market Street and ADA access and streetscape improvements.

According to City Spokeswoman Malissa Talbert, phase one construction is expected to begin in the next month, with the work taking about a year to complete, including one-block road closures and closure of portion of the Riverwalk.

Phase two will include bulkhead repairs to the section of Riverfront Park directly in front of the federal building owned by the U.S. Coast Guard will be completed at a later date.

The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) will be replacing water and sewer lines during the first phase of repairs and has allocated approximately $1.1 million for their potion of the project. The CFPUA wants to replace water and sewer utilities within this area for the future abandonment of the sanitary sewer pump station at Market Street.

Riverfront Park hasn’t seen an update since the 1980s, and plans for the project have been in the works since 2013, but have lacked the funding to get started.

The phase one improvements to Water Street and Riverfront park are in conjunction with the City’s effort to revitalize Northern Water Street, including the development of the Water Street parking deck, the North Waterfront Park and the development of the Wilmington Convention Center hotel.

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James Mieczkowski is a news reporter for Port City Daily. He can be reached at james.m@portcitydaily.com On Twitter: @mieczkowskiPCD