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Back You are here: Home News Local and State News Local Carolina Beach Approves Funding Hatteras Ramp At Freeman Park

Carolina Beach Approves Funding Hatteras Ramp At Freeman Park

Click image for larger view: Vehicle stuck in soft sand at Freeman Park. The Carolina Beach Town Council voted unanimously at their January 14th, meeting to move forward with funding a plan to install a Hatteras Ramp at the entrance to Freeman Park on the North End of Pleasure Island.

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Town Council voted unanimously at their January 14th, meeting to move forward with funding a plan to install a Hatteras Ramp at the entrance to Freeman Park on the North End of Pleasure Island.
Freeman Park, located beyond the end of Canal Drive on the Northern End of Pleasure Island, is largely outside of the Town's jurisdiction. They have authority to manage the area as a park. That was granted to them by the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners some years ago. There is a fee charged for vehicle access to drive on the beachfront within the park. The Town, by it's own admission, doesn't charge people to walk into the park. They can only charge for four-wheel drive vehicle access.
Jerry Haire - Project Manager for the Town - explained to the Council, "In the spring of last year staff was approved to develop plans for a Hatteras Ramp to alleviate congestion at the Freeman Park entrance. An engineered plan was developed to begin the ramp at the end of the existing pavement and extend north 320’ along the narrow entryway between the dunes where the most congestion problems occur."
The entrance to Freeman Park is narrow with two lanes of traffic for vehicles entering and leaving the beach. During periods of dry weather the sand becomes soft
and can lead to vehicles becoming stuck in those lanes causing long lines of traffic to backup within the park and on Canal Drive until a tow truck can arrive to pull a vehicle free. 
Installing a wooden Hatteras ramp within that narrow corridor would allow vehicles to move more freely and avoid timely traffic backups.
He explained, "In July the Town received a CAMA permit for the project. Also In July we applied for a $105,776 grant from the NC Division
of Marine Fisheries with a $14,200 Town match for a total project cost of $119,976. We received notice this week that we have been partially funded for $15,867, 15% of our request, with the Town being responsible for the remaining $104,109."
He explained, "If we choose to accept the grant we must submit an acceptance letter by January 31. However, no work can commence on the project until we have an executed contract, not to be earlier
that July 1, 2014. This means we would have to wait until fall to go to construction. The goal has been to construct the ramp this winter before the spring tourist season."
Haire explained the estimated construction time is 30-60 days and the Council can reject the grant and build it with Town funds this winter and seek quick turnaround grants such as Lowe’s or Home
Depot or accept the
grant, wait until fall to construct and continue to seek additional funding.
He explained, "It is possible that additional Marine Fisheries funds may be available if other funded communities reject their grants. In the past these funds have been redistributed to projects under contract."
The plan will also facilitate a larger trash receptacle.
Councilman Steve Shuttleworth made a motion stating, "Instruct staff to move forward and re-bid it and provided it doesn't come in higher than what the previous bid was to move forward this spring subject to the finance department giving us an appropriate funding source out of the budget transfer and I think we can come back next month for the final action."
Town Manager Michael Cramer said funds could be used from the Town's General Fund reserve funds. He said council could approve of a budget adjustment at their February meeting.
The Council voted unanimously.

Drawing of were the wooden Hatteras ramp will be constructed at the narrow entrance to Freeman Park.