Commissioners table Northern Regional Park development discussion

by Kelly Corbett
Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The New Hanover County Board of Commissioners unanimously motioned to table the discussion about redirecting $1.27 million of funding toward a Northern Regional Park development and the proposed sale of Wrightsboro and Battle Park.

The investment in the Northern Regional Park development, funded by the 2006 parks bond, would use the remainder, $2.17 million, of the parks bond.

Battle Park was purchased in 1991 for $470,000, and appraised in 2007 for $6.2 million.

At the regular meeting on March 11, Commissioner Jonathan Barfield Jr. said he is in favor of reallocating the funds because the county needs more green space. He said he is not in favor of selling Wrightsboro and Battle Park because of the decrease in property value since 2007.

Tara Duckworth, NHC parks and gardens director, said $1.1 million went to the beach towns from the parks bond. All of the beaches were first allotted $200,000, but Kure Beach made a request for an additional $500,000 for Ocean Front Park.

County manager Chris Coudriet said a previous board reallocated funds from Battle Park to Kure Beach.

“I just think that was a small number for each beach to get $200,000,” said Carolina Beach Mayor Bob Lewis.

Lewis said Carolina Beach officials would like help with other beach initiatives, including a children’s play area in front of the Oceanfront Boardwalk.

Vice chairwoman Beth Dawson said she needed more details regarding the Northern Regional Park development plans, along with a history of how the parks bond was used before making a decision.

“I still have a lot of questions about putting all of our eggs in one basket,” Dawson said.

She also questioned Mike Kozlosky, executive director of the Wilmington Metropolitan Planning Organization, about the logistics of the Wilmington/New Hanover County Comprehensive Greenway Plan following his presentation and before the board unanimously approved to adopt the plan.

If all projects in the 20-30 year plan were approved, it would cost an estimated $102.6 million. 

“There is no financial commitment with the adoption of the plan,” Kozlosky said.

Toward the end of the meeting, Chairman Woody White questioned the data behind the Marquis Hills and Heritage Park sewer expansion.

“To borrow $20 million, I hope that data that is used to support that request is not six years old,” White said, referring to the number of incidences of reported septic problems since 2008 with Marquis Hills and Heritage Park ranking below areas like Figure Eight Island and Porters Neck.

The board agreed to send a letter to the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority on behalf of the county requesting a commitment to funding the projects, including the design process costs.


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