City of Wilmington awards six local organizations $167,000

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While Front Street marks the heart of downtown Wilmington, the new WDI-WRAR partnership will eye properties all the way to 16th Street. File photo by Ben Brown.
Wilmington Downtown Inc. could create a new Municipal Service District in downtown Wilmington after receiving funds for the creation of a feasibility study for the project. File photo by Ben Brown.

Six local organizations will receive funding from the City of Wilmington to continue to promote economic development and cultural arts within the city.

Council members approved $167,000 to help fund the Arts Council of Wilmington, the Jewish Film Festival, Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, Cucalorus, Wilmington Downtown Inc. (WDI), and the UNCW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurs (CIE). Council members unanimously approved the resolution to formally enter into contracts with the local organizations during a City Council meeting on August 18.

UNCW CIE will receive $70,000 and according to UNCW officials, the donation will be used to help host six annual events to connect entrepreneurs with investors along with offering financial assistance for students developing their own start-ups.

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Cucalorus Film Festival will use $20,000 to hire about a dozen local young professionals to work during their annual film festival scheduled for November 10 to 14, according to representatives from Cucalorus. The city funds will also help launch a new innovation and entrepreneurship conference called Cucalorus Connect, which will begin alongside the annual film festival on Tuesday, November 10. The conference is aimed at bringing together entrepreneurs and leaders in a variety of fields to network and share ideas among themselves and with the public.

Related Story: Cucalorus launches business conference alongside annual film fest

WDI was awarded $30,000 to help fund a feasibility study to create a Municipal Service District (MSD) downtown. According to Ed Wolverton, Director of WDI, the feasibility study will help reach out to business owners downtown to receive input on the creation of an MSD, a specially designated area of the city that provides for a property assessment to finance supplemental or extra services and improvements. These extra services include public safety, maintaining a clean environment, and extra marketing to remain competitive in the business environment.Currently there are 56 urban MSDs in North Carolina, including districts in Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro and Goldsboro.

According to city officials, the remaining allocated funds will go to The Arts Council of Wilmington and New Hanover County in the amount of $25,000, the Jewish Film Festival in the amount of $2,000, and the Greater Wilmington Chamber Foundation, Inc. in the amount of $20,000.

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