Slocum Creek project shows vision

Published: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 at 05:28 PM.

The city has been quietly purchasing property on both sides of Slocum Creek and has recently developed a master plan to place kayak launches, extensive walkways, benches, picnic tables, a parking lot and water fountains overlooking the creek. Interpretive signage will detail the important link the creek had with a local grist mill, the North Carolina Railroad and the Civil War-era fort that once stood nearby.

Long range plans call for a bridge to be built linking an existing trail leading to the Havelock Tourist and Event Center.

Even longer range plans are to move the Trader Store and adjacent World War II-era train depot to the city’s new land, which will capitalize on the interesting historic aspect of the locale.

The Historic Slocum Creek Recreation Area will take shape right in the geographic center of Havelock. It will be linked from both directions eventually by pedestrian sidewalks that will afford easy access from both east and west ends of the city.

Municipal planners talk about “place-making” when they refer to this type of project. The Historic Slocum Creek Recreation Area fits this description aptly.

In the coming years, word will be getting out about Havelock’s new “asset,” and I have every confidence that local workers will be taking lunch breaks under the trees after a quick stroll across the footbridge. Others will be spending afternoons and weekends with family and friends paddling the calm waters of Slocum Creek followed by a refreshing cold beverage purchased at the century-old Trader Store.

And after we’ve all gotten used to spending time walking the paths up to, along and across Slocum Creek, we’ll need to remember that it wasn’t always that way. We’ll need to give a silent thank you to the visionary citizens and city planners who had an idea that made it possible for Havelock to be all it can be.

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