2016 Parks Bond

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Thank you, Wilmington.

The City of Wilmington thanks the citizens of Wilmington for overwhelmingly voting for the 2016 Parks Bond.
According to Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo, “We are very pleased that Wilmington voters chose to approve the 2016 Parks Bond. We are grateful to all the citizens who took the time to vote and have a say in their local government. The Parks Bond will provide funding for some of our key needs and also help better position our community for the growth we know is coming. These projects will help us protect the investments we have in our existing parks as well as new recreational opportunities that will help improve the quality of life for our citizens. Now, we begin the hard work to put in place what our residents told us they wanted and what the city committed to doing.”

Next steps

Staff have already begun work to gather more information to help prioritize projects and determine what projects can get underway as quickly as possible. Funding for these projects will become available on July 1, 2017. In the meantime, city staff will be interviewing architects and engineers so that we can get to work designing the projects as soon as funding is available. The city hopes to complete all 15 projects in 5-7 years.

Why a Parks Bond?

  • Residents want more parks. Parks are a high priority for Wilmington residents. In both the most recent citizen survey and the recently completed comprehensive plan, citizens indicated that they want more parks and recreation opportunities.
  • Our existing parks are highly utilized. Parks and facilities such as the Gary Shell Cross-City Trail, JEL Wade Park, Olsen Park, Archie Blue Park, the Empie Park tennis courts and others are highly used and provide a needed service to residents and visitors. These facilities were all made possible by the 2006 Parks Bond.
  • A bond provides another way for the city to provide the needed parks. The identified list of needed parks totals more than $60 million. This bond, if approved, will allow the city to meet more than half of those needs in a reasonable amount of time.

What projects are included?

See a map of locations and potential projects, and learn more about project details.

How much will it cost?

Soccer playersThis fall, voters gave the city approval to borrow money to begin $38 million in parks projects. The City of Wilmington will sell $30.4 million in bonds to finance the projects listed above, which total an estimated $38 million. The remaining $7.6 million would come from existing funds. Voters overwhelmingly approved these projects by voting for the parks bond in 2016.

The bond would be repaid by increasing the City of Wilmington's property tax rate by 2.1¢ per $100 of valuation. This means that the average homeowner of a $200,000 home would pay $42 more per year, or $3.50 each month. The increase will become effective as of July 1, 2017.


What are bonds?

Municipal bonds are debt securities issued by states, cities and counties to fund capital improvement projects such as parks facilities and other projects for the public good. When a government body sells a municipal bond, they are receiving a loan to complete these large projects which must be repaid over time, much like a homeowner pays a mortgage. With less funding coming from the state and federal government, bonds are one of the only remaining methods available to local governments to complete major projects in a growing city.


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  • Why a bond?
  • How much will it cost?
  • How do I know the money will be used for these bond projects?
  • What is the impact to my taxes?
  • How do bonds work?
  • How do I register to vote?
  • How do I get more information?
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