City Council members will consider the future for planes, trains, and automobiles in Wilmington as they vote on the adoption of the Wilmington Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (MPO) Cape Fear Transportation 2040 plan during a meeting on Tuesday.
Used by federal, state and local governments to guide transportation projects in our region over the next 25 years, the plan considers all modes of transportation, including automobiles, trucks, buses, trains, airplanes, ferries, bicycles, and even walking.
According to the MPO, the creation of the plan is a requirement in order to secure federal transportation dollars for the region with an update necessary every four years. The Cape Fear Transportation 2040 replaces the current plan, Cape Fear Commutes 2035, which will expire in December 2015 and included projects such as Gary Shell Cross City Trail construction, Wave Transit service to Pleasure Island, Wave Transit express bus route, and the future I-140 Wilmington Bypass.
Projects recommended in the new plan include:
- $6 million extension of the runway at ILM international airport.
- $13.3 million for a river class vessel to run from Southport to Fort Fisher.
- $158 million to create a bridge over the Cape Fear River to support freight and truck traffic into Port of Wilmington.
- $44 million widening of Kerr Avenue.
According to Wilmington City Manager Sterling Cheatham, the area covered by the 2040 plan encompasses more than four hundred square miles of southeastern North Carolina including all of New Hanover County and portions of Brunswick and Pender Counties. It also provides analysis and recommendations for multiple forms of transportation for the City of Wilmington, Town of Carolina Beach, Town of Kure Beach, Town of Wrightsville Beach, Town of Belville, Town of Leland, Town of Navassa, New Hanover County, and portions of Brunswick and Pender Counties.
Wrightsville Beach, New Hanover County, Brunswick County, The Town of Navassa, Pender County, and the Town of Belville have already voted to adopt the resolution, with Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and the Town of Leland scheduled for voting later this month.
You can find more information on the Cape Fear Transportation 2040 plan here.
Also included in the City council agenda is the second and final vote on a change to the city’s Land Development Code to allow for cottage-style housing developments.
Also known as “pocket neighborhoods,” these single-family courtyard developments are a type of detached housing providing small, single-family residences for households.
During the last meeting of the city council, council members approved the first reading of the ordinance in a 6-to-1 vote, with Councilman Kevin O’Grady dissenting. The ordinance will be brought back for another vote at Tuesday’s meeting after Councilwoman Laura Padgett cast a dissenting vote for the approval to omit a second reading of the ordinance, which needed to be unanimous.
City council will also vote on an ordinance authorizing the City Manager to accept a grant in the amount of $45,000 from the North Carolina Governor’s Crime Commission. The grant requires a $15,000 match from the City of Wilmington, which would create a total of $60,000 in funding to assist law enforcement agencies with technology purchases.
According to Cheatham, the grant along with the additional $15,000, which was included in the city’s general funds budget, will provide the police department with funding allowing for the purchase of approximately 70 body cameras.
Council will also consider an ordinance appropriating $10,000 in NC drug tax revenues to promote and maintain the Wilmington Police Department’s Text-A-Tip program.
According to City Spokeswoman Malissa Talbert, the program began in 2008 and allows citizens to send anonymous crime tips via text message. As part of recent violence reduction efforts, Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous and other city and county officials have urged the community to get involved by texting tips or forming a neighborhood watch.
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James Mieczkowski is a news reporter for Port City Daily. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org On Twitter: @mieczkowskiPCD