Havelock commissioners decided Monday to apply for a grant and to develop a site plan for the city’s Slocum Creek waterfront park project.
If approved by the N.C. Division of Coastal Management, the $81,000 grant would fund purchase of large and small kayak ramps, picnic tables, outdoor grills, walkways, trash cans, signs and a gravel driveway accessing the new 2.5-acre site on the east banks of Slocum Creek just west of the new Slocum Creek bridge.
The city would have to come up with a $15,100 local cash contribution, plus a $5,200 in-kind contribution as part of the grant.
Brenda Wilson, a city commissioner candidate, was the only person to speak during a public hearing on the grant application. A member of the Havelock-Cherry Point Rotary Club, she said the club had already started efforts to use the creek by helping with a boat ramp and construction of a gazebo on the west side of the creek.
“This is a project that is near and dear to my heart,” she said. “All I can say is please make it happen.”
Board member George Liner was absent, but the other four commissioners voted to go forward with the grant application.
“It’s a pretty big deal,” Commissioner Jim Stuart said.
“Good job to all of you all,” Mayor Jimmy Sanders said after the vote.
Commissioner Danny Walsh said he would like to see the picnic tables in a highly visible area.
“I want the picnic tables to be as close to highway 70 as possible to show it off,” he said.
The board also voted unanimously to set aside $7,500 from the reserve fund to be paid to the Wooten Company for creation of a site plan for the park.
The board considered, but decided against, seeking a Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant to create a master plan for all city recreation areas.
Commissioner Will Lewis suggested holding off until 2015.
“I think that’s going to be the smartest move,” City manager Jim Freeman said.
Dave Smith, recreation director, outlined the expected costs of the next phases of the project, which include an estimated $180,000 to $240,000 to build a new footbridge across the creek that would link new and old walking paths.
Relocation of the Trader Store and historic train depot to the site could cost $64,500, and construction of bathrooms at the site would be anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000.
The board has not agreed on funding the bridge, the historic structure relocations or the bathrooms as yet.
In other business Monday night, the board:
-- passed new regulations on tall structures aimed at curtailing construction of wind turbines near Cherry Point.
-- agreed to have the planning department look at amending rules on electronic gaming operations. “The jury is still out on if we think it’s good or bad, but we think you should look at it,” Sanders said. Stuart said it was his belief that the majority of the board thought the existing regulations were too strict. “I think we need to do our due diligence and review it,” said Commissioner Karen Lewis.
-- recognized Helen Emerson for 26 years as director of the Havelock Community Band. Emerson is stepping down and being replaced by Mitchell Martin.