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City Reveals Schematic Designs Of North Waterfront Park

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Apr 16, 2018
The city of Wilmington has released the final schematic designs for North Waterfront Park. (Photo courtesy of the city)
A stage, concert venue, splash pad and marsh boardwalk are all featured in final schematic designs for North Waterfront Park.

The designs were revealed to Wilmington City Council members Monday, ahead of a public drop-in session to view them tonight. The park is planned for a 6.6-acre tract of land, located at 11 Harnett St, just south of the Isabel Holmes Bridge and will be funded with $20 million from the 2016 Parks Bond.

North Waterfront Park's is designed as a place that is green and supportive of everyday activity, as well as a place for events and concerts, said Mary Margaret Jones, president and senior principal at Hargreaves Jones Landscape Architecture PC, the design firm hired by the city. Many of the elements are based off about 1,400 public surveys completed for the park's plan, she said.

"It's a neighborhood park, it's a regional park, it's a city park and it's a destination for visitors -- and balancing everyday park usage and the character of the park for the everyday user with the fact that it is an event venue was really one of our main challenges given to us ... and one of the opportunities of the site as well to make it work both ways," she said. 

An entrance through Nutt Street is planned to provide a pedestrian connection to the city. Old North Front Street is being utilized as a through-street in the plan, as well as a festival street that would be closed during events.

A box office for the venue is connected to a concession building, restrooms and park offices, which overlook a children's play area and gardens, she said.

Keeping with the theme of the Cape Fear River, the park also has in its design a tidal marsh area with a boardwalk. The landscaping and terrace seating near the river provide a close connection to that body of water, she said. In addition, there is also an interactive water feature included in the designs.

"We hope [for] a much better experience of the river than there is now ..," she said of the park area.

Green space is also in the schematic designs (right) and includes a waterfront lawn and a great lawn.

The great lawn is oriented to both the stage and the Cape Fear River, with views of both the river and the bridge. The architecture of the park's elements are also planned to reflect the historical industrial nature of the area, she said.

The architectural rendering of the stage, which is located in the northwest corner of the park near the river, shows an open structure that would be accessed by the public when not in use for concerts or events.

The stage area also includes a back-of-house space that helps contain sound and allows performers easy access to and from the venue. Many future development sites surround the site and would later add more barriers for sound, she said.

"The highest decibel levels are contained on the site," Jones said of the noise from the venue.

The theater area includes both temporary seating and lawn seating in the plans. A space is planned in front of the stage for just under 2,000 temporary seats, which Live Nation would set up and take down for events, she said.

Beverly Hills-based Live Nation Worldwide Inc., a company that promotes live events and entertainment worldwide, was awarded a 10-year venue management services contract with the city for services at the park in October. Input from the company was also taken into consideration for some elements of the park's stage designs.

In September, council approved a $1.9 million construction manager at-risk contract with Clancy & Theys to run the development of the park.

The design process will be completed in summer 2018 with construction to start in late 2018, according to the city. 

More details about the park will be presented at the city's drop-in style meeting in city council chambers between 5:30 to 7 p.m. Monday.

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