Yearly violent crime rate up
The estimated $1 million renovation plan for the Donald Ross-designed Wilmington Municipal Golf Course was presented to Wilmington City Council at its meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 21.
The largest portion of the project is a complete restoration of the course’s 18 greens. The plan would be the first true restoration of the greens since the course was built in 1926, said Amy Beatty, Wilmington Superintendent of Parks and Downtown Services.
After receiving nine submissions from golf course architects, the city selected John Fought Design to complete the plan.
A 2012 public survey about the course’s most needed project revealed 64 percent of 228 respondents named greens restoration. Beatty said John Fought called them some of the smallest greens he has ever seen.
While city staff’s preliminary estimate of the renovation cost was $700,000, John Fought Design projected the plan to cost more than $1 million. Beatty said the increase came from Fought’s proposal to include irrigation work, an altered cart path layout and an improved tree line.
The original plan for the work was to complete half of the course renovation in 2014 and the other half in 2015. However, Fought and city staff determined it would be more cost effective to complete the entire scope of work in one period. Beatty said completing the work all at once would ensure consistency in the growth of the new grass and avoid the heightened amount of play the open half of the course would receive.
City council will consider funding the renovation at its Feb. 4 meeting. Beatty said the work would begin this spring if funding is approved.
In his review of 2013 crime statistics, Wilmington Police Department Chief Ralph Evangelous said the city wide number of Part I crimes in 2013 was the lowest since 1998 and 28 percent less than in 2002. Part I crimes include homicide, rape, burglary, larceny, arson, vandalism and drug abuse violations, and Evangelous said the 28 percent drop occurred despite an approximate 33-percent increase in the city’s population.
However, Evangelous also said the amount of violent crimes committed in the city was 15 percent higher than 2012. In addition to the increase in gang-on-gang violence within the city, Evangelous said heroin has contributed largely to those numbers.
“The No. 1 issue in many places across America is the availability of heroin and it is purer and cheaper than it has ever been and that is what is driving a lot of these violent crimes,” Evangelous said.
Joining the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners, Wilmington City Council unanimously passed a resolution against any future increases in state homeowners’ insurance rates for Southeastern North Carolina. The North Carolina Rate Bureau recently requested a 35 percent rate increase for a large portion of Brunswick County and Councilman Neil Anderson said the constant rate increases are becoming commonplace.
“I guess we get a little numb to this but what is puzzling about this one is that it is basic home insurance,” Anderson said. “So it is hard for me to understand how we would be so much more susceptible to these things than someone in the Piedmont.”