The options for how the city of Wilmington will fund the
estimated $1,015,619 renovation of the Wilmington Municipal Golf Course were
presented to Wilmington City Council at its meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 18.
Wilmington superintendent of parks and downtown services,
Amy Beatty, said city staff recommended funding the project with $205,437 in
unused golf capital project funds and $810,182 from the city’s parks bond
balance. Beatty said that would allow the project to begin and end in 2014.
However, taking more than $800,000 from the parks bond
balance would leave only $350,479 left to cover three other parks projects that
city staff identified as priorities. Those projects include a conceptual design
of the Northside waterfront park, improvements to Buck Hardee Field and
possible overrun costs for the construction of Inland Greens. Beatty said an
additional $250,000 in alternative funding would be needed to complete those
Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said he would prefer to take
that $250,000 out of the city’s general fund to cover all of the projects.
“These are good investments in our community and I think we
should just take it out of the general fund and pay it,” Saffo said.
Mayor Pro Tem Margaret Haynes agreed with Saffo, as did
Councilman Kevin O’Grady, but O’Grady said he was hesitant to continue drawing
from the general fund.
Included in Beatty’s funding recommendations were increase
for the course’s green fees in the amount of 20 percent for fiscal year 2015
and 15 percent in 2016. However, Councilwoman Laura Padgett suggested only
increasing the rate by 25 percent the first year with no rate increase in
fiscal year 2016 and Saffo expressed his support of the idea.
City council was not required to take a vote on the funding
model at Tuesday’s meeting but gave Beatty the guidance to start the bidding
Street Parking Deck
After analyzing what the highest and best use of the Water
Street parking deck land would be, University of North Carolina School of
Government director of Development Finance Initiative Michael Lemanski said the
best use would be two multiuse buildings with a wrapped parking deck.
Lemanski said market research has shown residential and
office use would be viable options for the buildings and that there should be
an estimated 625-650 parking spaces. Of that total, 50 percent of the spaces
would have to be reserved for the residential units, he said.
The tallest building of the two would be 12 stories,
Lemanski said, adding that finding room for public space on the 1.2-acre lot
was an issue.
Lemanski said none of the financing or economic impact
numbers were presented at Tuesday’s meeting because of the complexity of the
figures but that they were finished and could be provided to council.
Deputy city manager, Tony Caudle, said there is an estimated
50,000 cubic feet of debris left in the city and that the expenditures would
likely fall within the $400,000 to $500,000 range.