Carolina Beach Boardwalk Improvement Project Taking Shape

Carolina Beach Boardwalk Improvement Project Taking Shape Featured

By / Local News / Wednesday, 28 January 2015 05:00

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - A project to replace the aging 757' foot long oceanfront wooden boardwalk in downtown Carolina Beach is progressing and scheduled for completion in the Spring.
The Town began offering sponsorship opportunities in the fall of 2014 ranging from $250 to $2,500 to help fund the $1.6 million dollar project.
The fundraising effort has been successful with one person from Durham, NC writing a check for $21,000 to sponsor five benches and four swings. 
The benches and swings will include fish tiles embedded in the wood displaying the names of the sponsors.
All of the benches and swings have been reserved, but people can still help sponsor the project by purchasing a fish tile that will be embedded in the wooden walkway. The project replaces the 757' foot long wooden Boardwalk that runs along the oceanfront in the downtown Central Business District. It will help improve the appearance of the Boardwalk business area by replacing the 8' foot walkway with a wider 16' foot wide Boardwalk with new 10' foot wide handicap accessible beach access ramps.
The "beach stage" has been rebuilt with the addition of a roof structure.
The old weathered wooden bench that runs the length of the Boardwalk is being replaced with new seating areas, swings, benches, covered gazebos and eventually sail shades. The landscaping coves will be enlarged and provide space for historical and environmental kiosks, shaded seating, picnic facilities, music, art and other cultural actives.
The project is funded in part through grants from New Hanover County, the North Carolina Division of Water Resources and the North Carolina Division of Coastal Management. Offering sponsorship opportunities to the public will help bring the project to completion.
To help sponsor the project, for $250 you can personalize a 1/2" thick fish tile made of Corian in an Elderberry blue color engraved with your choice of wording. For example, "The Jones Family, Bob, Mary and Ed." The tile will be embedded in the wooden walkway.
Previous sold-out sponsorship opportunities included purchasing a $2,200 tile embedded in one of seven 10' swing back benches that will be located along the walkway. Each bench can hold 10 tiles. For $2,500 you could purchase a tile to be placed on one of nine 6' foot swings that will be located along the walkway offering views of the ocean. Each of those swings can hold up to 6 tiles.
Those spaces were limited and sold-out in recent weeks.
Project coordinator Jerry Haire explained Tuesday January 27th, the Boardwalk Improvement Committee hopes to raise $300,000 from donations through sponsorships. He said that number isn't final, but the response to the program so far has been excellent.
Haire noted that a man from the Durham area wrote a check for $21,000 to sponsor five benches and four swings with fish tiles.
He said the Committee is exploring other sponsorship opportunities in the future such as educational kiosks, bike racks and additional benches and swings throughout the Boardwalk area. Last week they were testing out different designs for placing fish tiles in the wooden walkway.
He said the number of tiles that can be sold hasn't been calculated yet, but there's 757' feet of 16' foot wide walkway which leaves a lot of room for embedding tiles.
To sponsor a fish tile embedded in the walkway at $250, you can visit the Town's website at www.carolinabeach.org, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 910-458-2999.
The project cost was estimated at approximately $1,603,000 part of which will be funded through a $250,000 Water Resources grant from the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources that requires a $250,000 match from the Town and a $603,000 CAMA grant from the State Division of Coastal Management. Last summer the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners approved a grant to the town of $500,000 towards the project. The Council awarded a contract to Civil Works Contracting in the amount of $1,633,600.67 in August of this year. The Council specifically approved construction of the first phase of the project to improve the existing boardwalk in the amount of $991,536.00. The second phase of the project calls for $672,064.67 for an 875' extension of the boardwalk to the north. The Town requested a variance from the North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission to construct the extension. In October the Town decided to withdraw their variance request during a meeting of the Coastal Resources Commission when it became apparent the commission was not entirely in favor of granting the variance.
The Town is preparing to return to the Coastal Resources Commission at their April 29th meeting to once again request a variance from coastal regulations to build the extension.
The current project should be completed by March 15th. If the extension is approved, the northern extension project would begin construction in the Fall of 2015.

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