courthouse-clocktowerHere in New Hanover County, the community, elected officials and county staff cooperate to balance a high quality of life with a progressive business and economic climate.

At less than 200 square miles, New Hanover County is the second smallest – geographically – of the 100 North Carolina counties; however, it is home to more than 220,000 people.

New Hanover County is not just a great place in which to live or visit. New Hanover County is also a great place to do business. Tourism, film production, the service and retail sectors are the engines that power our economy.

Our Mission: New Hanover County is committed to progressive public policy, superior service, courteous contact, judicious exercise of authority, and sound fiscal management to meet the needs and concerns of our citizens today and tomorrow.

The government of New Hanover County is committed to ensuring that you are safe, healthy and secure; that is our promise to you.

County ManagerNew Hanover County Manager Chris Coudriet serves as Chief Administrator of county government and maintains responsibility for administering all departments under the general control of the five-member Board of Commissioners.

The county manager’s work includes the development of the county’s annual budget. The budget is the policy document, financial plan, and operations guide and communications device of county government. It reflects the county’s response to the needs of the community and residents’ requests for services. New Hanover County’s government operates on a $352.1 million budget for the fiscal year that began July 1, 2016 and ends June 30, 2017, serving more than 220,000 residents.

In addition, the manager and his executive leadership team are responsible for aligning the operations of the County to the adopted strategic plan and advancing the County’s mission and vision through five key focus areas: superior public health, safety and education, intelligent growth and economic development, productive strategic partnerships, strong financial performance, and effective county management.

Mr. Coudriet has served as the County Manager since July 2012. Prior to his appointment, he served as Assistant County Manager for New Hanover County for four years and as county manager in Franklin and Washington counties, N.C.

Coudriet has twenty years of public administration experience, with more than a decade as a county manager in North Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from East Carolina University and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

He is a native of eastern North Carolina. Chris and along with his wife, Leigh, and two children Montgomery, and Silas, reside in Wilmington.

New Hanover County has received the final economic development target analysis report from Jay Garner titled Pathways to Prosperity: New Hanover County’s Plan for Jobs and Investment and it’s critical companion piece, the Competitive Realties Report.

Manager's Message

Get Acquainted With New Hanover County’s Parks

Posted April 12, 2016 at 10:30 am

In March, I wrote an Insight column for The Greater Wilmington Business Journal reminding our community about our great county parks and the upcoming improvements being made. They are your parks and I hope you will get acquainted with all they have to offer by reading my column below:

Parks that offer both active recreation and passive enjoyment of nature and open space are a major contributor to New Hanover County’s quality of life. Our entire community should be proud of our parks, and I hope many readers will be inspired to visit soon, particularly as the warmer weather arrives.

Our park system had its origins a century ago, when New Hanover County was largely rural. But even then it was recognized that setting aside open space for public use was valuable for a healthy, growing community. At around the same time that Hugh MacRae Park was established, Airlie Gardens was being developed as a private playground. But Airlie also has been open to visitors for many years. It is now a public asset, owned and operated by the county, and one of our community’s crown jewels.

I mention Hugh MacRae Park in part to highlight some major improvements that are under way there. For anyone who isn’t familiar with it, this pine-shaded expanse is almost exactly in our county’s geographical center, near the intersection of South College Road and Oleander Drive. The park has entrances on both College Road and Pine Grove Drive, right off Oleander. These are some highlights of the work going on there:

  • We’re building a new basketball court near the baseball field, making sure that none of the park’s signature long leaf pine trees are disturbed. The court will feature an adjustable goal, allowing children of all ages to play.
  • To provide inclusive play opportunities for people with all abilities and of all ages, we are building a new playground. This is thanks to a $750,000 grant from Trillium Health Resources, the agency that provides services to people with disabilities throughout southeastern North Carolina.

This inclusive playground will be built in place of the current playground, which will be recycled and its newer parts reused to enhance the playground at Northern Regional Park. This park, at 4700 Old Avenue, primarily serves the Castle Hayne and Wrightsboro communities.

The new Hugh MacRae playground will include elements for smaller children, ages 2 to 5, and a separate area for those 5 to 12 years old. Nearby will be fitness stations for adult exercise. In recognition of some challenges for outdoor recreation during the hottest summer months, we are installing a splash pad for water play on the site of the existing toddler playground. This will use a recirculating water filtration system to ensure safety, eliminate waste and minimize operating costs.

Visitors to the park should notice construction starting in April and finishing in June.

Speaking of azaleas: Both Hugh MacRae Park and Airlie Gardens are showcases for spectacular floral displays every spring, and attract large crowds of local visitors and tourists. Both are featured in Azalea Festival events. Airlie in particular offers natural beauty all year, with plantings designed to produce attractive blossoms and foliage. The gardens’ plantings and pathways provide a multitude of lovely views, including beautiful water features.

Airlie Gardens, which lies between Airlie Road and Bradley Creek, has been widely recognized as a prime spot for both individual visitors and group events. The online travel site TripAdvisor has given the gardens its Certificate of Excellence Award, and readers of Encore Magazine designated it as the community’s best wedding venue for 2016. To help meet the strong demand for outdoor weddings along the North Carolina coast, the county also offers the scenic pond area at Hugh MacRae Park for ceremonies.

Group events can be accommodated in a number of our parks, such as under the picnic shelters at Hugh MacRae Park or in the community building in Riverside Park at Castle Hayne.

The sites I’ve mentioned are among the 25 parks and athletic facilities that New Hanover County Parks and Gardens maintains. These include more than 2,900 acres of green space, sporting areas, boat ramps, fishing areas, public event space and walking trails. We also oversee all the landscaping for the New Hanover County Schools. The department also manages the Executive Development Center, a space for conferences and training courses that is housed in the Northeast Regional Library building on Military Cutoff Road.

Our hard-working Parks and Gardens staff is guided by the motto “Connecting People to Parks.” The wide range of opportunities our parks and recreation facilities offer are a testament to that goal.

Other park improvements coming soon will be the Skate Park at Ogden Park, already a major center for youth recreation, and further development of the Northern Regional Park.

We have more information about Hugh MacRae Park improvements online at parks.nhcgov.com. Also on this website, you can learn more about all the county parks, request reservations for facilities and get involved as a volunteer.


Health, Fitness And Recreation Are Aims Of Senior Resource Center

Posted February 9, 2016 at 3:53 pm

A piece we posted to The Greater Wilmington Business Journal outlining the value-add of the Senior Resource Center. We don’t talk enough about the good work of this department. By … Read More »


Citizen Input Pointing The Way For County’s Future Growth

Posted December 9, 2015 at 3:21 pm

Most of us have heard variations on the business catchphrase, “Failing to plan means planning to fail.” To ensure that New Hanover County has a successful future, the county government … Read More »


Energy Sustainability Goal: Stewardship Of Natural Resources And Tax Money

Posted October 20, 2015 at 10:20 am

I thought you might enjoy reading something that I posted to Insights at The Greater Wilmington Business Journal last month. Conservation of energy saves us all money, and it’s the … Read More »


New Hanover County 2017 revaluation update

Posted September 16, 2015 at 4:36 pm

At a minimum, each of North Carolina’s 100 counties is required to conduct a reassessment of property values (revaluation) every 8 years. In order to best prepare a baseline for budgeting, New … Read More »


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