Sympathize With Residents Protesting Bike Path

By / Letters to the Editor / Wednesday, 12 November 2014 05:00

Dear Editor,
As a resident of Kure Beach, I sympathize with Carolina Beach residents who are protesting a bike path in isolated areas of the MOTSU (Sunny Point) land behind their homes.  
This is exactly the same situation that occurred in Kure Beach in 2008 when the “Greenway” was proposed by the Wilmington-Metropolitan Planning Org. (WMPO) to travel through Sunny Point land behind homes in KB.  The Kure Beach Council sided with the residents and rejected that plan because of safety, fire and crime concerns as well as resident’s privacy issues.  
Also at that time, the federal government denied the proposed path through Ft. Fisher Air Force Recreation Area, and the State denied the path to run through State land south of the island.  
Furthermore, Kure Beach officials objected also to the later WMPO proposal
that the path would run from Alabama Ave down FT. Fisher Blvd. through the Town of Kure Beach.  
Residents advocated for an off-road bike lane along right-of-way on Dow Road.  If WMPO had adopted that idea into their Plan, it might now be completed along with the recent upgrades to Dow Road.
In the WMPO Greenway Plan in June, 2012, they state the project vision “As vegetated buffers, greenways also protect natural habitats, improve water quality and reduce the impacts of flooding in floodplain areas.”  This plan for Carolina Beach does none of that.  In fact, it would destroy hundreds of trees and increase storm water run-off with 10-ft (overkill?) of asphalt in what is now a pristine natural habitat and maritime forest.  And the addition of a costly required “prison” fence should have killed this project entirely. (Does anyone believe the Army will EVER have enough funds to install their own fence on this land in our lifetime?)  Surely that money would be better spent on a bike path, off-road, in the right-of-way of an existing road, such as Dow Rd, Ocean Blvd, or Cape Fear Blvd, and in open view for safety.  The residents have good reasons to be concerned about this path.  Imagine the potential for misuse of this area, especially at night, creating opportunities for crime as well as illegal fireworks, skateboarding, noise, etc.  I don’t believe anyone would want to live with that behind their homes.  Residents should also be concerned about using an area completely hidden from public view and readily available help if needed.  Do you want your kids there alone?
The Sunny Point land and pristine maritime forest now entirely off-limits from use, development and man’s destruction is a gift for ALL Pleasure Island residents and should be protected.  I also remember in 2008 that MOTSU would not allow use of their land without approval of BOTH KURE BEACH AND CAROLINA BEACH. 
Of course, Commanders at Sunny Point have changed hands since 2008, but I would hope they now would review and reconsider this use for their land, especially in view of the past and present resident’s opposition and the potential that opening one section would encourage unauthorized use in other areas as well. 
I also hope that the Carolina Beach Town Council will agree with their residents that this path is not in the best interest of the Town, residents or the best use of the funds required.
I also can’t help but be suspicious of WMPO’s future goals after this CB path which would end at Alabama with nowhere to go from there?  Is Kure Beach going to have to fight this again?   I believe the WMPO’s Island Greenway Plan has been flawed from the beginning and it is time to put it to a FINAL rest.
Judy F. Larrick,
Kure Beach, NC


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