Davids Drive connector path approved


WILMINGTON — At Thursday night’s Wilmington City Council meeting, members voted in favor by a 6-1 margin in support of the Davids Drive Connector Path project.

The approved plan involves constructing a 2.2-mile bike trail along Davids Drive, stretching to Route 134. The project requires the city to pay $241,000 upfront with the promise of later reimbursement.

The council first broached the topic at its May 18 meeting, opting to explore additional funding sources before making a final decision to move forward. Director of Public Service Mike Crowe provided an update on his efforts to secure financial support.

“I called all three of the (county) commissioners and asked if they would be willing to offer financial support,” Crowe said. “All three said they would entertain it if we made an official request. I also reached out to Alkermes, and their HR representative indicated they would likely support the project but required a formal donation request through a provided link.”

Matt Purkey, council president, added that the Trails Coalition might also be able to offer some donations, though further details were not specified.

The council then discussed the budget implications. Auditor Mary Kay Vance explained: “If this is approved, we would create a dedicated fund. It would have its own revenue source, including grant dollars and the city’s match, which would come from the general fund. The general fund can afford the match, but there are always other requests. We are financially healthy now due to income tax revenue, but we have significant expenses supporting the police, tax office, and fire department. We can afford this today, but future projects might limit our ability. There may come a time we will have to say no to a project.”

The council voted six to one in favor of the motion, officially endorsing the project. Kelly Tolliver was the sole vote against it.

Also during the meeting, safety director Joseph Spicer announced his resignation from the position. He is getting married and relocating to Tennessee. Spicer expressed his gratitude for his time as safety director.

Mayor Pat Haley extended his best wishes to Spicer and named Nick Eveland, a former mayor, as the new safety director.

The meeting also included the swearing-in of Michael Sowards to the Wilmington Fire Department. Sowards, previously a lieutenant/paramedic at Paint Creek Joint EMS & Fire District, was welcomed by the council and Haley.

“We’re happy that you’re back with us,” said Haley.

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