- Published on Wednesday, 14 August 2013 23:44
- Written by Super User
The Town of Carolina Beach recently held two public workshop meetings to solicit input from the public on a proposal to make improvements along Cape Fear Blvd including multi-use trails, trees, additional parking, sidewalks and other changes.
By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Town Council discussed a proposed streetscape project to make improvements along Cape Fear Blvd at their August 13, meeting. The Council decided on two potential proposals and a need to solicit more input from residents living on that road.
The Town will be upgrading underground utilities on several right-of-ways this fall as part of a larger project to replace old water and sewer infrastructure. A portion of the upgrades will include the 100 block and 500 block of Cape Fear Blvd which will give the town an opportunity to improve the current streetscape.
The improvements for Cape Fear Blvd will include a redesign of the parking configuration with street trees, sidewalks, bike paths and/or a multi-use path.
During the Council's August 13th, meeting there was lengthy discussion and confusion among Council about various versions of plans for the project. Some plans placed a bike and walking path on one side of the road extremely close to people's front doorsteps.
After the long brain storming session, Mayor Bob Lewis explained, "Can we go another month and have a second public hearing... I'd like to go back and take a look at the road. That will still give us September. You're not going to start the project until October and you're not going to do the streetscape part of that until November or December."
Interim Town Manager Ed Parvin said a special meeting could be held.
Mayor Pro-tem Steve Shuttleworth said, "We attempted to have a couple of open houses and get people in here I'm just concerned that if we only had 15 people and a few respondents, whatever change or whatever we do we are going to hear a backlash that we were not open enough or didn't have an opportunity to get public input."
Shuttleworth asked Council for ideas on how to get more input from the public. Once recommendation was to use Facebook, but Shuttleworth said not everyone uses that online service to learn about Town issues and projects.
Councilmember Sarah Friede said getting local media interested in the project would help to generate public participation.
Shuttleworth said, "I'm all for the multi-use trail on the south side going with parallel parking on one side, leaving it diagonal because it does get us additional parking spaces... if we do that we probably ought to carry that all the way to Dow Road" from Lake Park Blvd along Cape Fear Blvd.
After continued discussion among the Council on parking, sidewalks, lanes and many other issues, the Council directed staff to come back with two proposals and set a date for a special meeting. They asked staff to post the latest proposals on the Town's website at www.carolinabeach.org and to call on local media to help solicit public input.
The special meeting date will be 9am on August 26th at Town Hall.
To view all of the proposals presented to the Council at the August 13, meeting, visit the Town's website at www.carolinabeach.org. The plans are listed on the front page.
Earlier this year the Council approved moving forward with a $13 million dollar project to rehabilitate an aging sewer force main that pumps sewage from the main Lift Station in the downtown area across the Island to the Town's Wastewater Treatment Plant off Dow Road. The secondary force main is not currently in use. It's only used in emergency situations when flow exceeds the capacity of the primary force main. The secondary line can't operate at 100% due to the state of the aging line. The project will also replace aging water and sewer lines throughout older residential areas of Town west of Lake Park Blvd and replace the aging water storage tank on Cape Fear Blvd as well as open a new fresh water well.
The overall project is about 34,000 feet of sanitary sewer line replacement or rehab and about 29,000 feet of water line replacement and also bringing a new well online plus replacing the 3-million gallon ground storage tank on Cape Fear Blvd.
The streetscape project would improve the area following completion of infrastructure work along Cape Fear Blvd.