Wednesday, November 29, 2023

City council approves alcohol sales at North Waterfront Park

Margaret Haynes_Fotor
Mayor Pro-Tem Margaret Haynes presided over the City Council meeting during Mayor Bill Saffo’s absence. Photo by James Mieczkowski.

Wilmington City Council approved a resolution to allow the sale of alcoholic beverages at the city’s North Waterfront Park on Tuesday.

City Manager Sterling Cheatham stated the city plans to hold “pop up events” at North Waterfront Park in an effort to raise awareness for the new park and to gain extra funding for its completion. These events would include concerts and festivals, “where the general expectations of the event organizers is that alcoholic beverage sales and services is allowable.”

Council members voted unanimously to approve the resolution, and the park’s first event, the Port City Ribfest, which will be held at the park Aug. 14-16.

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Community gardens

Community gardens will now be allowed on city-owned property, after council members approved a resolution in a 5-to-1 vote, with Councilwoman Laura Padgett as the dissenting vote. The resolution was in response to requests received by outside organizations such as Wilmington Green and The Blue Ribbon Commission on the Prevention of Youth Violence.

The policy is intended to cover community gardens operated by a nonprofit agencies or neighborhood associations for cultivating vegetables, fruits and ornamentals on city-owned property. The crops grown can not be intended for commercial purposes.

City officials noted that “community gardens create opportunities for citizens in neighborhoods that are under-served in terms of access to fresh, nutritious food along with providing places for social and cultural events, which have the ability to strengthen local communities.

“Please don’t read this as a vote against community gardens,” said Padgett. “I just don’t believe this is completely thought out.”

‘Large vehicle parking’

In other city business, City Council continued a resolution to the council’s next meeting on Aug. 18 that will require a permit application for any “large vehicle event parking,” where parking meters are located downtown. The permit will allow for the parking meters to be bagged so that large vehicles can park on the street instead of blocking alley-ways.

The resolution states that “event organizers may request to reserve parking meters for the purpose of parking large vehicles, for example, tour buses, limousines, school buses, recreational vehicles or any vehicle too large to fit in one on-street parking space. A large vehicle is defined as a vehicle exceeding 25 feet in length, with or without trailers attached.”

Permits will be issued on a first-notified, first-serve basis and the application fee is $50. City Council members were unanimous with continuing the resolution, citing a need for more information to make a better decision on the matter.

To view the City Council meeting, visit the City of Wilmington’s website here.

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

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