After reviewing a year’s worth of public input, the City of Wilmington planning department created six different maps showing alternative future visions for the city. Each of those maps was displayed at Halyburton Park Wednesday, June 25, with around 75 members of the public showing up throughout the day to voice their opinions about the plan.
The six alternative future visions include continuing the city’s current development and transportation practices, creating live-work nodes throughout the city, focusing on transit-oriented development, creating urban centers, creating community corridors and main streets, and focusing on neighborhoods that are already in a state of transition.
“We have created six alternative visions that describe six different ways we could approach growth in the future,” said city planner Brian Chambers. “They all have unique growth strategies and they all identify areas of town that may or may not be appropriate for those strategies.”
During the public meetings that took place in the neighborhoods, like the one along the old streetcar line the follows Wrightsville Avenue, Chambers said his department often heard the request to bring back that mode of transportation. Included in the transit-oriented development plan is a glimpse of what a reestablished streetcar line could look like in the city.
Chambers said the future planning initiative was based on the fact that the city has never created a true comprehensive development plan and because the city’s population is projected to grow by 56,000 during the next 26 years.
“Whether that projection is right or wrong, we are going to grow,” he said. “Where are these people going to go and in what ways does the city need to grow physically to accommodate that population growth?”
Wilmington traffic manager Don Bennett said he often receives many suggestions about improving city traffic, some of which are reflected in the future vision plans.
“A lot of these things reduce the need for you to get in your car to get what you need,” Bennett said. “We can’t build our way out of congestion … we need to find that happy median where the streets are not congested but where we are also not overbuilding just for peak traffic hours.”
Following last week’s public event, the city will release one of the six different future planning vision maps once a week to continue the public comment period.
At the end of the summer the public comment will close and Chambers said the planning department would begin combining the most desired aspects of each of the six visions to create a future development strategy map for the city.
For more information, visit www.createwilmington.com