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What is going on at the Covil property on Middle Sound Loop?

Judy Royal

Tammy and Tommy Covil stand at the site of their Covil Family Market off Middle Sound Loop in Wilmington Tuesday, May 24, 2011. They've since abandoned the attemp to operate the market. Staff Photo By Matt Born/Wilmington Star-News.

The complete question: What is going on at the Covil property on Middle Sound Loop? The property that was once slated to become a farmers market is now being used for what appears to be “war games” or paintball.

And the answer: During the summer of 2010, plans emerged for an open-air farmers’ market on a 3.59-acre site at 301 Middle Sound Loop Road. Owners Tommy and Tammy Covil wanted it to capture the spirit of the former J.W. Covil Grocery, an old-fashioned country store that Tommy’s grandfather operated around the corner until 1979.

The market began opening on a limited basis in April 2011, but the Covils ran into problems getting permission from New Hanover County to operate it the way they wanted on the residentially zoned property, especially when it came to offering open-air concessions, craft vendors and live music. Vendor interest waned amid the uncertainty, and the Covils’ plans to seek a special-use permit or commercial rezoning eventually faded.

“It became a red-tape nightmare, and the county was not allowing us to do what we had hoped we could do,” Tammy said. “We ended up not going any further with it. My husband decided it just wasn’t worth the effort and expense.”

She wouldn’t rule out the possibility of trying again in the future, but for now the property sits vacant and unused, except for the occasional Airsoft pellet gun match between her husband and sons and their friends.

“They’re playing,” Tammy said. “They’re a bunch of big kids. They’re just out there wasting time, to be honest with you.”


http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20110525/ARTICLES/110529791 Covil Family Market is up and running


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