EMERALD ISLE — More golf cart parking spaces are coming to Emerald Isle, hopefully in time for peak summer tourism season.
Town commissioners, during their monthly meeting Tuesday night in town hall and online via GoToWebinar, voted 5-0 to approve a plan to add three or four new spaces at the Lee Avenue beach access, which is at the street’s intersection with Ocean Drive.
Lee Avenue is between Stuart Avenue and Jackson Avenue, a little east of the town hall complex, and police Chief Tony Reese told the board Tuesday the area is home to many people with golf carts and there’s a high demand for spaces.
The police department, which oversees the town’s golf cart program, worked with the golf cart advisory committee to develop the plan to add to the two existing spaces at the Lee Avenue access, Chief Reese said.
“The golf cart advisory committee has been working diligently to identify and improve parking for golf carts at various beach access locations throughout the town,” Chief Reese said during the meeting. “This month, the committee reviewed and voted on a conceptual design involving changes” at Lee Avenue.
The changes involve minor improvements.
“Some of the changes, such as the moving of the fire hydrant, have already been completed,” he continued, and “it is expected that most of the work at this location would be completed by town staff, minimizing any costs associated with the project.”
Any funds required for the project will come from the golf cart improvement fund, which includes revenue from golf cart registration fees. The fee is $100, and the town expects registered carts to top 1,250 this year.
Town manager Matt Zapp’s proposed fiscal 2021-22 budget projects $102,000 in registration fees in the next fiscal year, which would be $12,000 more than in fiscal 2020-21.
When the fee was increased in August 2017 to its current price, commissioners designated revenues collected in excess of $50,000 per year be reserved for future golf cart path infrastructure improvements.
Chief Reese said he hopes the Lee Avenue project will be finished by July. The trash can, the beach access signage and the gravel beach access path will also have to be shifted.
Just two years ago, there were only 59 town-owned golf cart parking spaces in Emerald Isle. Following the addition of new spaces along Islander Drive last year, there are now close to 100. Still, demand is high for those spaces, particularly in the summer when residents and visitors are outside more.
Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email Brad@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.