Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Echo Farms purchase complete, county requesting an additional $5,400 from Wilmington

The City of Wilmington and New Hanover County have closed on 14-acres at Echo Farms (Port City Daily/Courtesy Google)
The City of Wilmington and New Hanover County have closed on 14-acres at Echo Farms (Port City Daily/Courtesy Google)

WILMINGTON — When the City of Wilmington and New Hanover County agreed to buy a portion of the Echo Farms golf course and clubhouse, they agreed not to spend more than $1.7 million. But like other government projects, including River Place, ‘shall not exceed’ agreements are not as binding as they appear.

On Tuesday, City Council will vote to approve or deny spending another $5,443 for the Echo Farms park at the request of New Hanover County.

“The purchase of the land totaled $1,710,886.99, a total of $10,886.99 over the maximum allowed in the interlocal agreement. A request from the County to honor half of the overage at a cost of $5,443.49 was received January 2, 2020,” according to City Council’s agenda.

The city and county previously entered into an interlocal agreement that set out a few guidelines for the park including:

  • New Hanover County will purchase the property from the current owner at a price not to exceed $1,700,000;
  • The City of Wilmington will reimburse New Hanover County for fifty percent of the acquisition costs, not to exceed $850,000;
  • -The City and County will share in the costs of design of the Park improvements and the year #1 and #2 retrofit improvements on a 60% County, 40% City basis up to the costs of the estimated improvement of $836,000. Any amount above this must be expressly approved by each governing body

Related: One year in, Wilmington’s Water Street project sees cost jump $7.6 million

“[City] Staff recommends funding the overage as it relates to recordation fee purchase ($26), buyers tax proration purchase ($8,336.99), and Echo Farms Title ($2,524),” according to the request.

Although $5,443 is not very significant when compared to the $1.7 million for the total purchase, it does beg the question as to why these maximums are put in place if they can so easily be exceeded.

For example, the City of Wilmington agreed to increase its maximum contribution to the public/private River Place development to $24.52 million — and the city is already over that at $25 million.


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