Cedar Point moves forward with final application for kayak launch grant

From left, Ken and June Pacitto and their dog, Weymouth, sitting in the carriage, enjoy a warm evening and scenic views Tuesday under the gazebo at the end of a pier beside the proposed kayak launch in Boathouse Creek Walking Trails Park in Cedar Point. The town is hoping a state grant will cover much of the cost of the launch. (Brad Rich photo)

CEDAR POINT — After a public hearing Tuesday night, Cedar Point commissioners voted 4-0 to file a final application for a $60,000 state grant to pay most of the cost of building a kayak launch, dock and small parking lot in the town’s waterfront park.

The board voted during its regular monthly meeting in the town hall off Sherwood Avenue.

If the town gets the grant, it will have to provide a $20,000 match.

The facility, to be compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act, will be near a newly completed pier and gazebo in Boathouse Creek Walking Trails Park, a 56-acre natural area off the end of Masonic Avenue.

The $20,000 in local funds was the subject of a few comments by town resident Diana Mazza. She said she favored applying for the N.C. Division of Coastal Management grant, but thought public restrooms were a more immediate need and a better use of $20,000 in taxpayers’ money.

Restrooms, she said, “would benefit every everyone,” not just kayakers.

Town clerk Jayne Calhoun, who wrote the grant application – which survived the first cut by DCM staff – said there are plans in the works for restroom facilities that would not require tax dollars.

The town received a $140,000 anonymous donation to pay for construction of the new pier, and there’s about $50,000 leftover, enough to pay for basic restrooms and a few other amenities near the park’s entrance. There is a useable septic tank that served a mobile home previously on the property.

Mayor Scott Hatsell said he believes the restrooms will be in built sometime this year and defended the kayak launch as a major asset that will draw more people to the already popular park on the White Oak River and Boathouse Creek.

“This is the year to get things done,” he said.

There are also plans for picnic tables, benches and swings.

The mayor added he goes to the park often and always sees people walking, often with dogs. The new pier, which replaced a dilapidated one, is getting high usage already, even though it was completed just this moth.

Mayor Hatsell said there are many handicapped, military-affiliated individuals who kayak, and town officials talked to them about the design of the launch.

Also during the hearing, resident and town public works director Don Redfern supported the grant application.

“This access grant is a big thing for the town,” he said.

Other kayak launches in the area are in waters that are crowded, he said, but Cedar Point’s will be in a mostly quiet part of the river, “where it’s so much safer and so much to see.”

Commissioner John Nash said Cedar Point and nearby Swansboro have become hot spots for kayakers and this facility will cement that status.

“We will become known for kayaking in eastern North Carolina,” he said.

Ms. Calhoun said the town should know sometime this fall whether it gets the grant.

“I feel optimistic and excited about this.” She said. “It’s going to be a shot in the arm for (the park) and the town.”

 

Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email brad@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.

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