- Published on Wednesday, 14 August 2013 23:36
- Written by Super User
By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
CAROLINA BEACH - The Town of Carolina Beach is requesting a $500,000 grant from the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners.
Officials from the Town will make the request at the Commissioner's August 19th, meeting at 9AM.
Carolina Beach Mayor Pro-tem Steve Shuttleworth said they are requesting an economic development
grant from the County to help fund a park and beach access project at the downtown Boardwalk.
According to Interim Town Manager Ed Parvin, "The Town of Carolina Beach is requesting New Hanover County invest $500,000 in our plans to renovate and expand the Carolina Beach Oceanfront Boardwalk to make an accessible Oceanfront Park with a boardwalk that is doubled in width and length! The existing 8 foot wide boardwalk structure is antiquated and in need of substantial renovation."
He explained, "Our plan is to replace the entire 750 foot structure with a new 16 foot wide Boardwalk with all new beach accesses. In addition, the plan includes extending the Boardwalk 875 feet north to the Pelican Lane Public Access, the previous site for NC Aquarium Pier and Access Park."
He explained, "We are also discussing a possible future phase to extend south to Hamlet Ave. The Boardwalk Improvement Project is included in our adopted Bicycle Multi-Use Transportation Plan and the Wilmington-New Hanover County Comprehensive Greenway Plan. We are now ready to make the plans a reality and provide our citizens and visitors with a safer, more attractive boardwalk with much improved beach access and a variety of amenities."
Parvin explained, "The new wider structure design will be handicapped accessible and provide ample access and circulation space for the thousands of visitors we receive each year. Plentiful seating areas, swings, wind sail shaded gazebos, unique water tunnels, vortexes, misters and other “cool – off “ features are included in this oceanfront linear park design to make the Boardwalk an inviting destination point for all ages. The landscaped coves between the Boardwalk and sidewalk will be redesigned to include a splash pad park, public art, historical and environmental educational kiosks, shaded seating and picnic facilities and open space for music, art and other cultural events and passive recreational use."
Parvin said the extension north to Pelican Lane would link to the Town's sidewalk and Bike Route system and provide a one mile walking and biking loop connecting the beach and Boardwalk with the Carolina Beach Marina, shopping, restaurants and all of the central business district amenities.
Essentially providing improved pedestrian access throughout the downtown area connecting major areas for easier access.
He explained, "The Boardwalk Improvement Project encompasses a full slate of public benefits including improved beach access, a variety of recreational, cultural and educational amenities and alternative transportation that will serve as an economic stimulus generator for the Town and region."
He explained, "With New Hanover County as a partner Carolina Beach’s likelihood of success and ability to enhance other investments in
New Hanover County greatly increases. Efforts by Carolina Beach to promote commerce benefits all the local governments – but especially the NHC."
Parvin said the County receives 73% of the local sales tax and Carolina Beach less than 2%. The pay back to the County even without allocating additional sales tax that could derive from a multiplier of increased retail sales is less than five years.
He said, "The County is paid back regardless."
Mayor Pro-tem Steve Shuttleworth will attend the meeting along Parvin and other Town staff members to make the request.
Shuttleworth said previously the Town requested the County use funds from a previous Parks and Green space Bond. However, the County had already allocated those funds to the Northern Regional Park project in the northern area of the County.
Shuttleworth said a subsequent idea to obtain a loan from the County was discussed, but the Town is requesting the County invest in the southern area of the county by participating in an economic development project that will increase tourism, sales and property tax revenues.
He said the return on the investment will be increased tax revenues that go directly to the County.
The County Board of Commissioners meeting will be held August 19th, at 9AM at the New Hanover County Historic Court House in downtown Wilmington at 24 N 3rd St.
Shuttleworth said citizens and business owners interested in the project should attend to show their support to the County Commissioners.