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Carolina Beach Town Council To Discuss Freeman Park Issues And Use Of Beach Rake At July 16th Meeting

Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Town Council will get an update at their July 16th, meeting on issues at Freeman Park and the use of a beach rake to help keep the shore clean of litter.
Earlier this year the Town Council was confronted with issues of littering within the park. The park is located at the northern end of Pleasure Island and is one of a handful of locations on the east coast that permits four wheel drive vehicles to drive on the beachfront. Permits are $100 a year or $20 per day for vehicle access. Camping is permitted in designated areas.
Crowds flocked to Freeman Park on the North End of Carolina Beach over Memorial Day weekend. The Council took notice of issues within the park. Most notably piles of litter left behind by visitors.
Several Council members visited the park following the holiday weekend to pick up trash and speak with the public.
Brian Stanberry, Public Works Director, explained to the Council in a memo earlier this week that in response to issues raised following Memorial Day weekend they made improvements prior to the July 4th holiday.
Stanberry explained the number of trash receptacles in the Park were increased significantly and that seemed to aid in keeping trash from blowing around and lying on the ground.
Also, the trash barrels were clustered together to aid in keeping trash off the ground.
Stanberry said that helped, but there were continued issues with barrels migrating to different areas around the Park.
He explained, "The Fire Chief agreed to have the lifeguards, as they moved up and down the beach,  speak to folks about moving the barrels, discarded trash around campsites and other items. They were attempting to educate the visitors and keep some things in check."
Stanberry explained, "An additional trash trailer was purchased and delivered to the park prior to the holiday.  This also seemed to be a beneficial situation and was utilized throughout the holiday."
Extra temporary staff was hired and modifications were made to the schedule to provide increased coverage in the evening hours. That helped alleviate some of the trash accumulation that typically would have occurred during those hours. 
Stanberry explained the State, "has agreed to the installation of concrete fire ash receptacles within the park" and, "The benefit here should be the reduction of abandoned fire pits and burnt firewood."
He explained, "An extra set of port-o-johns was delivered to the park prior to the holiday."
The Fire Department ran a hose out the Freeman Park entrance and irrigated the area there to help reduce the incidences of stuck vehicles. When the sand gets dry vehicles can get stuck much easier than when the sand is moist. 
Stanberry explained, "At the time of this memo, the Town is awaiting approval from CAMA for the hatteras ramp at the entrance to the park and for their approval of increased beach raking in the park and in front of the Boardwalk. They also appear to be in support of these, as the Fish and Wildlife Service is on board."
Last month the Town demonstrated their mechanical beach rake to state and federal officials hoping to use the rake more than twice a year outside of sea turtle nesting season.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials signed off on increased use of the rake throughout the year and after major holiday weekends.
A Hatteras ramp is a wooden structure to permit vehicles to access the beach at the entrance and avoid stuck vehicles creating a traffic bottleneck resulting in long lines of vehicles waiting to enter and leave the park.
He explained, "A preliminary rough estimate of $150,000 has been submitted for the project.  At the time of this memo, further estimates are being sought. An update will be provided at the Town Council Meeting. At that point, if it is Council’s desire, funds could be approved and the project could move forward, without delay, obviously based on CAMA approval."