Packed city council agenda includes police facilities, new school, parks bond is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

Wilmington City Hall. File photo.
Wilmington City Hall. File photo.

The Wilmington City Council has a full agenda Tuesday night, their only scheduled meeting for the month of July.

Their long list of consent agenda items includes two Wilmington Police Department-related projects. The first is the approval of funds for a real time crime center, or STING (Situational Tactics and Intelligence Nexus Group) Center, which will be housed at WPD headquarters and will be designed in part by Cape Fear Community College students. The operations hub, which will house hundreds of screens tapping into surveillance camera feeds all across the city, was first proposed by Chief Ralph Evangelous in March. In May, city council approved $228,640 in federal forfeiture and drug seizure funds to pay for hardware, software, furniture, carpet and other equipment.

On Tuesday, the council could approve a contract worth $125,370 with Brady Integrated Solutions, a company that has previously worked with the city as a vendor for the installation of video camera systems downtown and in city-owned parking decks.. The purchase will include the video wall, work stations, programming, network access and training as well as labor cost.

The consent agenda also includes the formal approval of the city’s purchase of 46 acres of land from the Wilmington Housing Authority for $1,011,750, which was first announced last month. The vacant parcel, which encompasses two separate tracts between Maides Park and the Creekwood neighborhood, will be used to build a 30,000-square-foot police training facility and substation. In addition to office, classroom and storage space, the facility will also include an indoor firing range and a driving simulator.

A 10,000-square-foot building for the Wilmington Fire Department’s Training and Logistics Divisions is also planned for the land. Personnel and  equipment from those departments will move from their current location at WFD headquarters on Market Street downtown, freeing up more space there. The WFD facility will also have a driving simulator to practice maneuvering large fire engines on city streets. Both the WPD and WFD facilities will also be available to other city departments for training purposes.

A handful of public hearings are scheduled Tuesday, including one involving a special use permit to construct or replace an elementary school currently located in an R-15 medium density residential district. The city’s land use code requires a special use permit to be issued for any elementary schools built in residential areas. The school in question, College Park Elementary, is located at 5001 Oriole Drive and teaches students from kindergarten to fifth grade.

According to documents submitted to city council, “the existing outdated design presents safety, security and access challenges for the school; replacement of the school will provide a modern design and energy efficient facility for 21st century learning.”

If approved, a new 57,772-square-foot school designed to for a maximum of 544 students will be built at the location after the end of the 2017 school year. If the application is denied, the existing school will remain as is.

The city is also holding a public hearing on the possible annexation of 16.259 acres of land divided into 10 parcels located on the 7700 and 7800 blocks of Market Street. Property owners of the sites, located between the Bayshore and Marsh Oaks neighborhoods, initiated the voluntary annexation. If approved it would go into effect on August 1 and could be assigned zoning designations as early as September.

The issuance of a $30.46 million parks and recreation bond referendum to be put on the November ballot is also on the public hearing schedule. The bond, which will be voted on by city residents, will help fund the planned North Waterfront Park as well as improve, expand and construct other city-owned athletic facilities, public trails, community centers and the municipal golf course. The last parks and recreation bond put toward city voters was passed in 2006.

Several ordinances are also on the agenda, including the second reading of the ordinance that would allow the Water Street parking deck redevelopment project to move forward. A public hearing on the project’s purchase and development agreement was held last month, but due to a lack of unanimous votes to waive second reading, it is on the agenda once again.

Also up for votes are resolutions that would allow the city to enter into an agreement with Autumn Hall Inc., Mayfaire II LLC and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Raleigh to install a traffic light and median at the intersection of Eastwood Road and St. Mark Catholic Church Driveway. The city would collaborate on the design and cost share with the other entities involved.

The meeting will be held at City Council Chambers at City Hall, 102 N. 3rd St., starting at 6:30 p.m. The full agenda, along with links to supporting documents, can be found here.