Editorial: Freeman Park Not Eligible For Federal Beach Nourishment

By / Editorials / Wednesday, 03 July 2019 15:04

Managing Editor

For everyone questioning whether or not Freeman Park has or ever will have sand pumped onto the beach front like the rest of the Town. It's not going to happen. Here's why. In the early 2000's sand was placed in the area of Freeman Park as part of a project to dredge the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway near (to the west) of the Carolina Beach Inlet. That was not a federal beach renourishment project. It was a way for the Army Corp of Engineers to easily remove sand from that waterway to a nearby location via a dredge platform, pumps, and pipes. It was an individual project, isolated and separate from the typical periodic beach nourishment project.

The actual beach nourishment project approved by the U.S. Congress many, many years ago does not include the area known as Freeman Park because there are no residential homes or businesses in that area. No infrastructure. Nothing to protect with a nourishment project. It's deemed a coastal hazard area. A COBRA zone. COBRA Zone is the colloquial term for areas mapped and designated as Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS) units. The Coastal Barriers Resources Act (CBRA) of 1982 removed Federal government support for building and development in undeveloped portions of hazardous coastal areas.

Even if you bought a property up there, built a house and lived there, you could never  get federal flood insurance coverage nor be eligible for FEMA disaster assistance following a storm. Due to the fact that the Town of Carolina Beach has (over the last 20+ years) had to beg for continued beach renourishment funding for areas within Town limits to protect properties on the beach front, there is ZERO possibility of ever obtaining funding from the Federal and State governments to renourish the beach at Freeman Park. The Town would have to raise park rates and most likely property tax rates drastically in order to fund such a project (To the point that people would have heads on a platter). So the answer to this frequent common question is: Not a chance in Hades of getting federal or state beach renourishment funding for Freeman Park. Period. (Unless someone wins the lottery and wants to hand over the cash).

As for the dunes, when the Town established the park in the early 2000's with port-a-johns, police, trash pickup, etc, they also began installing sand fencing to prevent people from driving behind the dunes in that area. That was a common practice prior to the creation of Freeman Park and degraded the dune system in that area. Since the Town installed those first sand fences, sand would accumulate around the fences, cover them, and then the Town would install a new series of fences to the east. That process was repeated over the years and eventually led to growth/expansion of the dunes in Freeman Park. That, combined with natural erosion and storms, has led to the narrow state of the beach. And I can offer this history because I began working at the Gazette prior to the creation of Freeman Park and have watched it evolve over many years by reporting on the park in the paper. See the related report by clicking here...


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