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Freeman Park Hatteras Ramp Finished Early; Ready For Holiday

The new Hatteras Ramp at the entrance to Freeman Park was completed over the weekend ahead of schedule. The new wooden ramp will help avoid traffic congestion traditionally encountered when vehicles get stuck in the sand within the narrow corridor causing long lines of vehicles to form.

Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - Installation of a wooden Hatteras Ramp at the entrance of Freeman Park in Carolina Beach has finished early. The park was originally closed from April 7th to the 16th to permit installation of the ramp in sections that were prebuilt before delivery.
The park reopened Saturday April 12th. Weather conditions were favorable throughout the project and crews moved quickly to finish up.
Freeman Park is historically extremely busy during the Easter holiday weekend if the weather is warm and sunny.
Freeman Park, located beyond the end of Canal Drive on the Northern End of Pleasure Island, is largely outside of the Town's jurisdiction. They have authority to manage the area as a park. That was granted to them by the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners some years ago. There is a fee charged for vehicle access to drive on the beachfront within the park. The Town, by it's own admission, doesn't charge people to walk into the park.
They can only charge for four-wheel drive vehicle access. The entrance to Freeman Park is narrow with two lanes of traffic for vehicles entering and leaving the beach.
During periods of dry weather the sand becomes soft and can lead to vehicles becoming stuck in those lanes causing long lines of traffic to backup within the park and on Canal Drive until a tow truck can arrive to pull a vehicle free. Installing a wooden Hatteras ramp within that narrow corridor would allow vehicles to move more freely and avoid timely traffic backups.
According to Town Manager Michael Cramer, at the January 14th, Council meeting, the Council elected to decline a grant and proceed with construction of the ramp with Town funds during the off season and complete the project prior to Memorial Day.
The town received three informal bids and awarded the service contract to the lowest responsive bidder, which was Lumina Builders, Inc. at a cost of $118,700.00.  At the February 11th, 2014 Council meeting, council approved the budget adjustment moving $120,000 from the General Fund Fund Balance to the project account for the Hatteras Ramp.  A purchase order was cut and contracts have been executed.
The original schedule called  for closing the park from April 7th to the 16th in order to reopen the park before the busy Easter Holiday weekend when traffic is traditionally high. People must pay a fee to drive into the park.
Cramer explained earlier this week, "On behalf of the Mayor and Town Council we want to congratulate Lumina Builders and Town Staff for their exhaustive efforts in expediting the construction in anticipation of one of the town’s busiest holiday weekend."