Public meeting to be held Monday for Riverfront Park improvements is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

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.

Over the next year, Water Street and Riverfront park will undergo a make-over.

Bulkhead repairs will revitalize the Riverwalk. New benches and seating areas, additional light posts, and greenery with trees and native plants will bring new life to a refurbished Riverfront Park, and it all begins next week.

The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) and local construction crews will begin work on the first phase of improvements to Water Street and Riverfront park the week of September 21, with construction expected to continue for about a year. City officials will hold a public meeting about the project from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Monday, September 14,  in City Council Chambers, on the second floor of City Hall.

In July, city council approved a $2.4 million construction contract for the first phase of improvements, which was awarded to New Bern-based Trader Construction Co. The company 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, making the sidewalks accessible to the disabled, and installing streetscape improvements.

According to city officials, streetscape and park improvements adhere to the council-adopted Riverfront Master Plan and Vision 2020 downtown plan, and the bulkhead repairs are necessary for shoreline stabilization, which council members have lobbied to repair since 2012.

The CFPUA will also allocate approximately $1.1 million for their portion of the project, and will replace failing and deteriorating pipes under the intersection of Market and Water streets. These replacements will increase capacity and allow for the future abandonment of the sanitary sewer pump station at Market Street.

During the yearlong construction, crews will work generally from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, with some night and weekend work occurring as necessary.  Pedestrian Riverwalk traffic will be detoured around the site toward Front Street, and vehicle traffic at the first block of North Water Street will be completely closed.

Additional improvements, including those directly in front of the Federal Building, will be completed in a future phase after the US Coast Guard has obtained funding for repair of their portion of the bulkhead, which city officials expect to be within the next year.

You can find a full list of those improvements, along with what the finished renovations will look like here.

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.

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.

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