Editorial: Island Greenway Construction May Start In October

By / Editorials / Wednesday, 13 September 2017 04:00

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

The Carolina Beach Town Council voted to approve the route of  a 1.2 mile long $732,539.00 "Island Greenway" multi-use bicycle and pedestrian path during their March 10th, 2015 meeting. The project will be funded by local tax dollars and federal and state grants.

Since 2015 the cost of the project has gone up. We will know the exact cost once the bids are opened later this month and the Town Council awards a contract to a company to build the path during their September 26th, workshop meeting.

Once a contractor is selected, the project is expected to break ground in October or November.

It's taken a long time to get through the federal and state regulatory chain to reach this point.

The 1.2 mile paved 10’ multi-use path will border residential neighborhoods such as Carolina Sands and land owned by the U.S. Army's Military Ocean Terminal at Sunny Point (MOTSU) from Mike Chappel Park on Dow Road south to Alabama Avenue. The asphalt multi-use path will be bordered by a six-foot tall chain link fence topped with three-strand bard wire to keep people from climbing over onto the Army's property.

Town officials have said the path will be located on land owned by the U.S. Army as a buffer zone for the Military Ocean Terminal at Sunny Point (MOTSU). The terminal is the largest ammunition depot on the East Coast. Operations are located on the other side of the Cape Fear River in Brunswick County and the "buffer zone" occupies a large portion of Pleasure Island encompassing land in both Carolina Beach and Kure Beach on the riverside of the Island. Since the Army owns the land, the Town has to meet their requirement to install a fence.

When the project was approved by the Council in 2015, there were a number of people upset with the location of the path behind their homes as well as the addition of a large fence resembling what you would see surrounding a prison.

Since it's been a few years since the Council approved the plan (regulatory delays) it's a good time to remind long time residents the project is getting ready to begin and to introduce new property owners who may not be aware of the project.

For those new residents, when you see surveyors walking behind your home and ultimately hear heavy equipment ripping down trees, it's all in the name of progress so people can walk and bike across our Island enjoying increased freedom.

Perhaps the Town can send out a notice in advance to property owners bordering the path to inform them of what to expect during construction.

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