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J.M. Thompson Back to the Beach

For us folks in Wilmington, the tug-o-war over construction of a functional convention center has been putting people to sleep for years while those attending events with more than a few dozen others at the current facility spend useless minutes, gas, and patience trying to park and dodge comunity college students.

We were suddenly awakened a few weeks ago when Wilmington city officials worked through a pending law suit, political fallout, and general malaise to inform us that yes, Wilmington was going to break ground on a new convention center after over a decade of discussion, pricey hired consultants, and general empty rhetoric. 

That's the good news.  The bad news is that city chose Raleigh based builder J.M. Thompson to complete the project; this the same outfit that went over budget $1,000,000 on the recently completed New Hanover County jail, charged the county thousands to rent basic equipment such as copiers and computers, and took twice as long to complete the job as scheduled.  Seems to me to be a bit boneheaded to hire an out of town builder that has a poor track record in your area, especially when a local builder was hired to help complete their last disaster.

As stated in the Wilmington Star-News, our city manager (hired after the previous manager was fired in a male ego hissyfit orchestrated by a former mayor) cited the decades of time that Thompson had been in business as an indication that they would perform well with the convention center contract.  I guess he's never been to jail, or the new jail, anyway.

Wilmington needs a space for professionals to gather, and let's just hope that this choice doesn't make the process take even longer and cost even more. It seems our town is getting a statewide reputation for bad municipal decisions, unethical elected officials, non-existent attention to infrastructure, and development influenced government.  If we're not careful, Myrtle Beach may come a lot closer than an hour away.

3 Comments


  1. Dallas Woodhouse

    March 13, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    This has been a terrible project from day one. Americans for Prosperity has fought it all the way. When the hotel quit the project the city shouls have stopped. By their own vision a hotel connected to the project was critical. But this is govt. They never change their minds even when the free market makes its choice known. This will be a drag on the taxpayers forever. Let the free market decide if a convention center is needed

  2. Adam Searing

    March 13, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    And I thought the city council banning garbage disposals in Raleigh was a boneheaded move. What’s a million here, a million there?

  3. Dallas Woodhouse

    March 13, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    That whole garbage thing will never stand. People are not going back….we are not going to travel by horse anymore or pump our water from a well outside in the back

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