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Wilmington Agrees To Buy 46 Acres For New Facilities

By Cece Nunn, posted Jun 22, 2016
The city of Wilmington is expected to buy 46 acres from the Wilmington Housing Authority for a little more than $1 million, officials said Wednesday.

The transaction will be a done deal if it's officially approved at the city council's meeting July 19.

Plans for the undeveloped land, off Hurst Street and Princess Place Drive behind Maides Park, include a 30,000-square-foot training facility that would hold a police substation and a secure indoor firing range.

Officials have been searching for a suitable property for more than 10 years that could replace the city's old, obsolete outdoor firing range on River Road, said Mayor Bill Saffo, who announced the purchase agreement at a news conference Wednesday morning.

During the search, they had looked at 40 possible locations in the past six years.

"As you have probably heard by now, vacant land in Wilmington is at a premium," Saffo said, before listing the numerous expected and potential uses for the 46 acres. 

The city's plans also include a 10,000-square-foot facility that would house the Wilmington Fire Department's Training and Logistics divisions, including a fire truck simulator and space that could be used for training by other city departments.

The deal also makes a Maides Park expansion possible, Saffo said, with a potential new gym and multi-purpose room included in the $38 million parks bond the city is currently considering.

In addition, the purchase provides right-of-way access for the N.C. Department of Transportation's proposed extension of Independence Boulevard to the Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway where it currently intersects with Randall Parkway. There are no definite plans for the extension currently, according to a city news release.

Saffo said the indoor firing range would be designed to have no noise impact on nearby neighborhoods.

Funding for the land, which is expected to be sold for $1,011,750, is already included in the city's capital improvement budget while funding for construction would be recommended in next year's budget, according to the release. 
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