Local Interest
5:56 am
Sat January 13, 2007

Week-In-Review News Round-Up

Wilmington, NC – Plans for a new hospital on Market Street... Proposals for a Park in downtown Wilmington... and a stinging surprise on Surf City beaches... all this and more in WHQR's Week in Review.

On Monday night, New Hanover County Commissioners cleared the way for a medical complex in Scott's Hill.

A group of doctors is backing the facility on 50 acres of land on Market Street near the Pender County line.

Although opponents question why New Hanover Health Network doesn't build on other property it owns in the area, CEO and president Jack Barto says this is the better space to allow the hospital to expand.

"And then down the line we clearly see us trying to do a 60 to 80 bed bed-tower, you know impatient beds on that land."

But residents like Jim Mullins say the retail project is too big and will create traffic and runoff that could damage near-by Futch and Foy creeks.

Futch Creek is a very, very important part of the area and they're overlooking something that's very important to the people.

County commissioners approved the re-zoning providing developers pay for road improvements and that roads inside the medical complex can accommodate public transportation such as buses.

While the big news for the County Commissioners was what's going up, over at the Wilmington City Council, all the talk was about what may be coming down - the Water Street Parking Deck.

More than a dozen people spoke up during Tuesday's Council meeting, most of them urging the city the purchase the river-view lot for a public park.

However, the current agreement between the city and the site's owner call for a mixed-use development and reduced parking garage.

The Council will consider two resolutions on the issue next Tuesday - one to build a 250-space deck on the site, and the other to instead try to purchase some of the land for park.

Like a scene out of a B-movie horror flick, hordes of gelatinous Portuguese Man-of War washed up on the beaches of Surf City this week.

UNCW Marine Biology Professor Richard Satterlie says he's not sure exactly why the jellyfish-esque creatures washed up onto the Pender County coastline, but that these animals move at the pleasure of the winds and the currents.

"There's been some speculation that maybe the Gulf Stream, which is off the coast now, some distance off the coast, maybe had a little meander, or some spin-off that brought them a little bit closer to the coast."

Satterlie says the men-of-war hit the beaches earlier than they usually do in this part of the country.

The City of Wilmington announced Friday it's joining the North Carolina Department of Transportation to create a $10 million pool for a future transportation center.

3.7 acre The multi-modal station, which will include bus and rail service, is slated for Wilmington's North Side.

Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo says this purchase is now or never.

"The Department of Transportation had to know that we were having a lot of pressure put on us for development of this particular area. And that if we didn't do it now, we would probably never have rail service."

City councilwoman Pat Delair says she thinks the multi-modal station should be built closer to the river and that, while she supports getting cars off roads, she doesn't think rail service to Raleigh will catch on.

And finally, luck ran out for procrastinating art lovers this week.

The North Carolina Museum of Art announced its Monet in Normandy show hass sold out. Spokesperson Jennifer Bahus says the show will definitely end up in the black, although the museum can't estimate yet by how much.

"A show like this is very expensive to mount, it costs a lot of money, so whatever money we earn will cover that, and then, you know, I'm sure it will be successful."

The museum expects more than 200,000 people to have visited the Monet in Normandy exhibition by the time it closes this Sunday.

From Raleigh the exhibition will travel to its final stop in Cleveland.