About the future park
In 2013, the city purchased a 6.6-acre tract of land for the park along the northern downtown waterfront. An extensive public input campaign was conducted to get feedback about what citizens wanted in the park. From May-December 2014, the city received approximately 1,400 comments from public meetings, presentations, events, community centers, an online survey and social media. The input was used to develop the park North Waterfront Park Master Plan, approved by City Council in 2016. The final schematic design was shown at a public meeting at City Hall on April 16, 2018.
The city has contracted with a firm to oversee design and construction of the park. A nationally-known landscape architecture firm was selected to design the park, as well as another company that will operate the park’s performance venue. By coordinating all of these services prior to breaking ground, the development and construction of the park is more efficient and costs identified and finalized upfront, before construction begins.
The park will be partially funded by the voter-approved 2016 Parks Bond.
Where will the park be located?
The park will be located along the northern downtown riverfront, near the Isabel Holmes Bridge.
What will be included?
The park will include numerous amenities, including:
- Greenspace & lawns
- A large concert venue & festival space
- Shade trees
- Splash Pad
- Large plaza
- Public art
- Natural areas
Work on the final details for the design is expected to wrap up soon and construction is expected to begin in 2019.
The city’s preferred design includes higher quality materials that cost more upfront but last longer and require less maintenance. It also retains two key features not included in lower cost versions – a central water feature and a support building that would reduce park operations cost and could be phased in over time.
In October 2018, the Wilmington City Council approved a sponsorship policy that will be utilized to generate private investment in the park. At least $3 to $4 million in additional funding is needed to build/include everything in the higher cost design. This type of sponsorship program is common for urban downtown parks across the country, especially for large parks that serve as a regional and/or national attraction as North Waterfront Park is expected to be. The park will not only serve as a regional destination because of the park and gardens on the riverfront, but also a national attraction because of the bands the stage venue and park will accommodate, which will be the largest on the NC/SC coast.
Nov. 5, 2018 City Council Agenda Briefing
- View the presentation for full details (14 MB)
- Listen to an audio recording of the presentation from the Nov. 5 agenda briefing