MOREHEAD CITY — A new permanent restroom facility at Katherine Davis Park opens to the public Wednesday ahead of the N.C. Seafood Festival, taking place this weekend in downtown Morehead City.
Work on the restroom facility began over the summer with the goal of opening by the Seafood Festival, which takes place every year during the first weekend of October. The facility includes four female and four male stalls, with a diaper changing station in each half. It replaces a portable restroom facility with one stall for each gender that had been in the park for years and was removed Tuesday.
“We’re pretty much ready to reveal (it) to the public,” Morehead City Manager Ryan Eggleston said Tuesday.
Communications Manager Alizé Proisy added the facility also includes a new water fountain with a water bottle filling station that some residents have already taken advantage of. A sign with the city’s new logo was installed Tuesday, as well.
Other updates to the downtown park at 601 Arendell St. are also nearly complete, including six new parking spaces and a new sidewalk around the perimeter of the park. Earlier in the year, the city installed an 80-foot flagpole surrounded by a memorial and a series of six benches honoring the nation’s armed forces. The benches and flagpole were donated to the city, and a flag dedication ceremony was held around Memorial Day.
“We’ve got a good bit of the sidewalk done, we’ve got some of those additional parking spaces on the eastern side of the property done, and we’re watching some of that grass grow on the far east side,” Mr. Eggleston said. “Once some of that’s done, I think that kind of completes the first phase (of updates) and then for the moment we’ll press pause.”
Work on the new restrooms was carried out by S.F. Ballou Construction Co. and its subcontractors and cost the city about $95,000. In total, the city set aside about $350,000 for the various updates to Katherine Davis Park.
The city bought the 1.7-acre open space park from the state for about $2.6 million in 2016. Officials originally planned to apply for a N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund Grant to help build a playground and other features, but decided last year to keep the park mostly open space for now.
Other than the finishing touches on Katherine Davis Park, Mr. Eggleston said city staff have been hard at work this week preparing for the Seafood Festival. He said a new street sweeper was delivered to the city Tuesday, and crews have been using it to clean up downtown ahead of the festivities.
“It’s definitely a very busy week, and our staff has been out and about doing everything from setting poles … sweeping up downtown ahead of the event and pretty much anything and everything you can think of related to the festival,” he said. “Our public services folks have been hard at work, as well as our public safety folks, just preparing for the events and making sure we’re ready to go.”
In year’s past, Katherine Davis Park has been the site of many of the festival’s rides, but with the park redesign this year, rides will be moved closer to 5th Street in the Sanitary Restaurant and Fish Market parking lot. Katherine Davis Park will instead host an area called “The Cove,” featuring a stage, beer bar, two distilleries and food vendors. In addition, the Cooking with the Chefs tent will be set up in the parking lot in front of Katherine Davis Park.
Mr. Eggleston said although the N.C. Seafood Festival Board of Directors and its volunteers take on the bulk of planning and putting on the yearly festival, city staff are invaluable at making sure the event runs smoothly. Public safety personnel, including the fire/EMS and police departments, will be on hand during the event, and public services staff will be around to help clean up during and after the festival.
“We’re excited to work with the Seafood Festival and excited to welcome a whole bunch of folks from around the area and out of town into Morehead (City),” Mr. Eggleston said. “Hopefully they enjoy their stay here and come back for more.”
Contact Elise Clouser at email@example.com; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.