Wednesday, February 21, 2024

City of Wilmington asking for public input to help develop downtown plan

The Greater Downtown area of Wilmington encompasses 5.2 square miles (Port City Daily photo/COURTESY CITY OF WILMINGTON)
The Greater Downtown area of Wilmington encompasses 5.2 square miles (Port City Daily photo/COURTESY CITY OF WILMINGTON)

WILMINGTON — The City of Wilmington is looking for public input as it plans the future of downtown development. The public will get a chance to weigh in Thursday evening at 6 p.m. during the Public Kickoff Meeting of the Greater Downtown Framework Plan.

The framework plan will serve the city as a supplemental plan to the Create Wilmington Comprehensive Plan, designed to “help effectively guide change within the study area.”

The greater downtown area consists of 3,343 acres, or roughly 5.2 square miles, running from Smith Creek to Greenfield Lake, and the Cape Fear River to Burnt Mill Creek, according to the city. The area employs more than 16,000 people and has a significant residential base.

The plan has several purposes according to the city which include:

  • Identify the vision for the future of the study area.
  • Identify the key projects and steps needed to foster sustainable growth and redevelopment.
  • Outline fundamental design standards and philosophy of unique subareas.
  • Outline elements that help implement the vision for the area.

According to Malissa Talbert, communications manager for the City of Wilmington, “While development in Wilmington is booming, it is estimated that approximately 46% of the total land in this area is vacant or underused. This is why a key tenet of the city’s long-term growth plan is redevelopment (re-using/replacing unused buildings and land) and infill development (filling in smaller empty gaps, such as a vacant lot next to a house in a neighborhood).”

The meeting Thursday will give residents and stakeholders in the area a chance to hear possible plans for the district, and have their voices heard.

“The meeting is hosted by the Planning division and anyone with an interest in talking about shaping the future of the greater downtown is invited to participate. This is the beginning of a months-long planning process, and following tonight’s meeting, we will schedule meetings within the subareas and neighborhoods of greater downtown. Following the public input portion of the planning process, a draft plan will be presented to the Planning Commission and then to City Council,” Senior Planner Christine Hughes said.

The meeting will take place in the Wilmington City Council Chambers on the second floor of City Hall.

Michael Praats can be reached at

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