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Back You are here: Home Opinion Opinion Section Editorials View of the Mayor: Carolina Beach and our Boardwalk Continue to Grow in Popularity. What’s Next?

View of the Mayor: Carolina Beach and our Boardwalk Continue to Grow in Popularity. What’s Next?

By ROBERT LEWIS
Carolina Beach Mayor

Everyone on council wants to thank all the volunteers and the local business community who have worked hard and supported the Boardwalk Makeover Project over the past 5 years. 
We all realize the significance of residents volunteering their time and private individuals and business owners who have made both physical and financial contributions to make the project a success.   As the Boardwalk Makeover group changes and takes another focus as “The Carolina Beach Downtown Initiative” which will focus on getting the entire business community more involved, our council looks forward to working together with the CBDI on future endeavors.  
The town of Carolina Beach and our staff have also made significant monetary and physical investments in the Boardwalk as part of the makeover and we are taking another step toward formally taking over the maintenance and upkeep of our boardwalk.  The town’s area of responsibility for the boardwalk will include items like: painting the surface area, providing landscaping services to support the coves and planter boxes install Christmas by the Sea Lighting and remove it after the event and upgrading the Boardwalk Gazebo. 
The town has been involved in some of these types of services over the past five years but we are now taking over the full maintenance under the direction of our operations department. 
It is now time to leverage our combined investment in our town’s boardwalk and council is moving forward to create a new focal feature as part of our wooden boardwalk to enhance the boardwalk experience for visitors and residents alike. 
Currently the wooden boardwalk is a 10’ wide flat walkway in need of repair.  Much of the wood on the
boardwalk needs to be replaced due to the impact of salt water and sand.  
An idea we have brought forward is instead of just using your tax dollars to replace the current walkway, council would like to expand and re-design the entire wooden boardwalk after those of other popular beachfront boardwalk areas. 
Our concept is to design larger open seating areas, create tiered decking, develop observation areas, provide covered areas and create a unique children’s play area.  The plan would be to develop a Boardwalk Design with a real “WOW FACTOR” to take to our legislators in Raleigh to convince them to move current grants from the unfunded Pier Project to our boardwalk in a new project. 
We also plan to discuss the plans and design with our county commissioners to see if they would partner with our community to help fund part of this project.  
Can you see a wide boardwalk area tied into our boardwalk business community where you and friends can sit under cover and socialize or stroll along the boardwalk without squeezing past others, where individuals with disabilities would be able to move more freely to view the ocean, dolphins and surfers and with a cool children’s playground type area with a unique feature that would encourage families to come down and have fun everyday not just during the summer season. 
We think this new design could take our Carolina Beach and our Boardwalk area to a whole new level, increasing the quality of life for all our residents and at the same time providing something to help drive economic benefits to our business community year round. 
You have probably noticed that your current council has a focus to invest in our town’s future to move the town forward.   
We also have a strong mindset around fiscal responsibility and management so we are exploring every avenue which can fund these types of future projects through grants or other types of state and county funding mechanisms. 
The more we become a year round beach destination the better opportunity we have to attract additional year-round residents and grow a vibrant business community.  We must be doing something right as our Town of Carolina Beach is experiencing a growth spurt in both the business community and our residential neighborhoods.  
Over the past six months new home starts in Carolina Beach have taken off and new families who want to live here year-round are starting to move to our community in higher numbers than we have seen in years.  New sand will soon be deposited on our beach strand and the Carolina Beach inlet is getting a couple dredging cycles this season.  
We have also initiated the implementation of a strategic water system upgrade plan to get all of our residents and business owners a better quality water product, consistent good pressure and a future water source. 
Some additional good news…Mayor Pro Tem, Steve Shuttleworth and our town attorney with council’s approval are working diligently to provide a solution to remove obstacles so the new developers can begin to build a Hampton Inn and Suites at the boardwalk.  
This project is active and we are seeing movement but we have to work out a few legal details concerning part of the property that will be used to build the new hotel.  
Council is working on multiple projects at the same time so as not to slow down the momentum that we are seeing in Carolina Beach and we look forward to delivering even more value to all our residents in the next year.
Bob Lewis
Mayor, Carolina Beach