Havelock sought to secure its future in 2013 with the start of a project aimed at city growth.
Work began on the relocation of the city’s sewer discharge pipe from Slocum Creek to the Neuse River. The $11.5 million project is designed to allow for added sewer capacity, which could potentially allow new business and residential development in the city.
Low sewer capacity could potentially cause the city to turn away a major residential or business developer. The project increases sewer capacity from 1.9 million gallons per day to 3.5 million gallons per day with subsequent plant improvements.
“Getting that sewer capacity is as important as when the first sewer pipe was put in many years ago,” former mayor Jimmy Sanders said. “You can’t grow without sewer and water capacity and we’ve suffered significantly probably for the last 10 years, certainly in 2005 when we were in the BRAC. We were so close to going into a sewer moratorium that it’s not funny.
“This will give us an opportunity to grow. Now the mission is the get the right companies in here and the right missions in here so that Cherry Point can grow and Havelock can grow.”
City and military leaders worked on a plan to allow the pipe to go through Cherry Point, saving millions on the cost of the project.
Another project important to the city was the completion of the new living quarters for firefighters on the east end of the city. The old annex had mold and other issues and had to be torn down.
Perhaps the city most ambitious project calls for a major recreational park along Slocum Creek off Church Road.
The city plans to make use of the water access to the creek with kayak launches walking trails, picnic tables, interpretive signs, a walking bridge over the creek to the Havelock Tourist and Event Center.
“That will be a center of place for us in Havelock and we really got a lot of traction on that in 2013,” said Will Lewis, Havelock’s new mayor. “... We’re getting a lot of traction with funding and partnerships, and of course we’ve gotten it out to the public so that everybody knows and we’re getting some community buy-in and we’re getting some local city groups who have said that they want to participate now that they understand what the project is. That’s going to be a longterm project, so we’ll be working on that for the next several years.”
Most of that land for the park has been acquired by grants with very little expense to Havelock.
“It’s going to change Havelock. It’s going to be one of those places that 20 years from now your kids or your grandkids are going to take that for granted, that this waterfront park, this water access, this kayaking facility were always in Havelock and they won’t realize how much work and effort went into making it possible to be there,” Sanders said.
Long-range plans call for the historic Trader Store and nearby World War II train depot to be moved to the new park.
The city sought to fill what it called a need for recreation space by going through the Coastal Land Trust and the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund to develop a 47-acre park off Lewis Farm Road near Carolina Pines. Though area residents protested over concerns of increased traffic and quality-of-life issues in the quiet area, the city said the need for recreation fields was great and that both county and city residents would use the park.
Meanwhile, officials broke ground in December on Havelock’s new city hall building. The 9,295 square-foot project is being finance by a $1.7 million loan and $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development. It will take nine months to complete.
Parts of the current city hall building are more than 70 years old.
At long last, the new service road bridge over Slocum Creek opened in late December. Originally scheduled to open in May, weather and contractor issues delayed construction. The bridge replaced the demolished Church Road bridge that had been built in 1924.
In May, Craven County cut funding for the congregate meals program at the Havelock Senior Center and the Godette Center in Harlowe. The meals would have ended in late June, but the Atlantic Baptist Association stepped in to finance the meals, but as 2014 approaches, the program’s future remains uncertain because of funding.
Riders of the Cherry Branch-Minnesott ferry across the Neuse River mounted a major campaign in opposition to a plan by the state legislature to impose fees on the free ferry. Meetings were held and some residents traveled to Raleigh to voice opposition to the fees, which were scheduled to go into effect on July 1. Instead, a last-minute change in the state budget excluded the fees.
Residents of the Woodhaven subdivision complained of issues with their property located on an old dump site. State testing revealed high levels of some contaminants, including arsenic, as residents complained about sink holes and uneven ground in their yards.
Craven County Schools announced in the fall plans to end the year-round calendar at Havelock Elementary, Arthur Edwards Elementary and Tucker Creek Middle schools. The school system is seeking a modified calendar, but such a calendar requires legislative approval. Without such approval, the school system said it would put all its schools on the traditional calendar, saying some parents want all their school-aged children on one calendar. The move also allows for increased opportunities for more joint continuing education and training of teachers.