(By Deborah A. Culp)
A recent visit with the Honorable Mayor (Wilmington, NC) Bill Saffo revealed a great deal more about the city that has been lovingly deemed “Wilmywood” or “the Hollywood of the East.” And about hizzonor , Mayor Saffo too. Those names refer to Wilmington, NC being at the heart of the film and movie industry. With the mega production like Iron Man 3 having chose Wilmington, NC as the location film site, the overflow of positively can on increase. Jobs, jobs, and more jobs, will be garnered as a result of this. Rumor has it that the migration level “from there to here,” has increased or may increase even more!
Mayor Saffo stands firmly behind the small, but highly effective town that he was born and raised in and when asked what he liked and disliked about Wilmington, he provide a cornucopia of information on both sides. Some being, the diversity and quality of life in his fair city. The magnitudes of people wanting to come his, or that do come here for one reason or the other. Including, but not limited to: the vast film industry, the exciting places to see, shop, eat and be entertained, the beauty of Port City as a whole. The Cape Fear River, Atlantic Ocean, which in this area is known as the “Crystal Coast”, the variety of places to worship, the academic venues: University of Wilmington North Carolina and Cape Fear Community College. And not to leave out the effective community organizations, expansive Medical Center (New Hanover Regional), numerous businesses which equal economic growth, historical district and more. To quote the mayor: “the future is now!”
Mayor Saffo’s dislikes about the Port City made sense as he remarked about having to manage a balancing act to keep things moving forward. For instance, traffic: people generally leave a larger town, move to a smaller town not to find it as congested with traffic as it sometimes is in Wilmington. As with any place in the country there are issues or “challenges” environmental concern. More people equal more of the aforementioned and this being a service economy that we live in, Mayor Saffo expressed his concerns of the youth (and adults) who may un-equipped to handle the challenges of facing employment implementation with little or no skills. He went on to say that “people equipped with degrees or highly skilled in a specific area, face difficulties getting or maintaining employment” This appeared to be a vital concern of his and quite believable as he is a genuine person, who embraces anyone that the meets.
Mayor Bill Saffo is married to the lovely Renee Saffo, who hails from Pittsburgh, PA.
Before winning his third term (by a landslide) of Wilmington’s Mayor, he worked in Real Estate. Mrs. Saffo manages their Real Estate Business as he, clearly has his hands full “proudly” managing one of the most picturesque cities in the nation. –DAC