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Construction Site On Downtown Corner Expected To Tell A Nicer 'Story'

By Cece Nunn, posted Jun 17, 2016
At Chestnut and Third streets, Bordeaux Construction is working on the New Hanover Library Story Park, which could be open by October. (Photo by Nina Bays Cournoyer))
What is now a construction site on a prominent downtown corner will soon be an urban oasis, county officials say.

At Third and Chestnut streets, Bordeaux Construction Company Inc. is working on the New Hanover County Library Story Park, reinventing an older park that had lost its usefulness into an area where those who use it can see native plants in an environment that also includes interactive components for park visitors.

"This project is a perfect opportunity to show how you can take a relatively small space in the heart  of downtown and create beautiful green space that both educates and inspires the people who pass by it every day," said Harry Tuchmayer, library director.

Some of the funding for the $286,855 comes from parks bond money approved by voters several years ago. 

The company awarded the project by the county, Bordeaux Construction, has an office in Durham and opened a second location on North Front Street last summer and has been working on a number of public projects in New Hanover County in its efforts to expand in the Wilmington area.

Construction began around the beginning of June, and Tuchmayer said the new park (rendering shown below) is tentatively expected to be finished and reopened by October.

Originally, county library officials had hoped to expand the adjacent Main Library branch at 201 Chestnut St. into the park area, but that would have been cost prohibitive, Tuchmayer said. 

"So we looked at a way that we could integrate the outdoor area back with the library," he said.

The current expectations for the new space are that the library will be implementing children's programming, providing an interactive experience throughout the park with manipulatives that include outdoor instruments children can play and giving adults and others interested in native and other plants the chance to experience a rain garden, pollinator garden, shade garden and edible garden, Tuchmayer said.

The park is expected to be a downtown enhancement, said Ed Wolverton, president and CEO of Wilmington Downtown Inc.

"It will be more open with the removal of the berms and the brick fencing," Wolverton said in an email. "It will also include interactive art pieces that will engage for people of all ages."


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