The City of Wilmington is expected to gain 60,000 citizens by the year 2040. In anticipation, city planners have launched a comprehensive plan similar to that of New Hanover County. While the Wilmington plan also asks residents to describe their ideal community attributes, its public engagement process is less orthodox. In fact, city planners have been hitting the local bar scene to collect input.
City planners are busy targeting those demographics expected to comprise the largest segments populating future Wilmington—seniors and millennials, or citizens born between 1980 and 2000. Associate city planner Brian Chambers notes that millennials are most likely to reap the benefits or repercussions of the city’s comprehensive plan. However, as they’re less likely than their older counterparts to show up at traditional public meetings, planners are capturing their feedback in millennials’ natural habitats.
"We’re trying to think of anything outside of the box. Any way we can come up with a new way to get people to take part in the process--we wanna see if it works. The Planning on Tap, which is the going out to the bars is, you know, you’re looking for the forty-and-under crowd that’s going out, that’s hopefully engaged in the community, and looking to provide some feedback to us."
On Wednesday, planners grilled patrons at downtown watering hole The Husk about transportation ideas, and last night, Goat and Compass guests shared their ideas for what Chambers says is millennials’ chief concern: Wilmington’s job market. Planners hope to develop Comprehensive Plan policy by fall of this year.