Editorial: $350,000 of Eggs in One Basket...

By / Editorials / Wednesday, 30 September 2015 04:00

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

Several years ago the Carolina Beach Town Council agreed - at the request of then Councilman Lonnie Lashley - to dedicate around $350,000 a year from revenues generated by Freeman Park to go towards beach nourishment and inlet maintenance.
Freeman Park generates a little over a million dollars a year. Much of that goes towards operation of the park.
This weekend we experienced a lunar high tide under a super moon with a lunar eclipse, heavy rain and strong surf conditions.
That caused a shift in the sand along Freeman Park.
It should serve as a reminder every time the Town has to close the park due to intense weather events or lunar tides, that all it takes to eliminate this funding source is for Mother Nature to wake up on the wrong side of the bed one morning and toss a hurricane our way.
The beach within Freeman Park is the "park." It's major attraction is the ability to drive on the beach with four-wheel drive vehicles.
The Town charges a fee for a daily or annual vehicle permit. This year they began limiting the number of campsites to address issues with litter and traffic congestion on Canal Drive.
While the final numbers are not yet tallied for this season, early figures have shown the park continues to generate healthy revenues for the Town.
The beach is already very narrow midway to the northern tip of the Island at the Carolina Beach Inlet.
One Hurricane Fran during a high-tide would very likely cut the park in half or worse.
That would effectively eliminate those revenues for an unknown length of time since the area is not part of our area's beach renourishment program. There are no homes or infrastructure in that area to protect and doing so would be a hard sell using local room occupancy tax revenues when the program is already fearing the elimination of federal funding.
Perhaps it's time for the Town to  research a "Plan B"  for alternate revenue sources now rather than later.
Don't keep all $350,000  of eggs in one basket hoping nothing bad will happen.

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