CAPE CARTERET — In separate motions Monday night, Cape Carteret commissioners agreed to spend money to improve the incomplete kayak launch facility on Pettiford Creek and to buy a small piece of property along Bogue Sound off Lejeune Road.
The decisions came during the board’s monthly session in town hall and on GoToMeeting.
The vote on town manager Zach Steffey’s proposal to add a second launch, a privacy fence for residents, a lockable gate and other items at the kayak launch site was unanimous.
However, the vote to buy the 15,000-square-foot strip of property – where Mr. Steffey proposes to put picnic tables and grills for a neighborhood park – was 4-1, with Commissioner Jim Nalitz the sole opposition.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to have a nice park in the Bayshore Park community,” Mr. Steffey said.
The land is part of a larger tract commissioners voted 3-2 not to buy last year. At the time, commissioners Steve Martin, Jeff Waters and Mr. Nalitz voted against the purchase, which would have been for $304,000, including interest, over five years. The seller was Dennis Del Mauro, and commissioners Mike King and Don Miller voted to buy it.
The plan then was to install a boat launch, which would have been across the canal from a private launch that serves the Bayshore Park neighborhood. Many nearby residents opposed the plan, and Mr. Martin agreed with them, saying the canal was too narrow for both facilities.
Monday, Mr. Martin and Mr. Waters changed their votes on the trimmed, $100,000 purchase, including legal fees, of the lot at 305 Lejeune Road. It is the former landing site for the ferry that once took travelers to from the mainland to Emerald Isle. The ferry building is still on the property.
“I was against this last time,” Mr. Martin said, but he had heard there was a plan to use the space for commercial boat slips, and he would rather it be a quiet park. The commissioner lives in Bayshore Park.
Mr. Nalitz, however, said he believed there would be unexpected costs involved.
“I can think of better uses for a couple hundred thousand dollars,” he said.
The money will come from the undesignated fund balance, which currently stands at more than $2 million.
The motion for the kayak launch site additions transferred $12,376 from fund balance to the parks and recreation department. Roughly two-thirds of it is for a second floating launch in another canal.
“All of these (changes) are necessary to optimize use of the site,” Mr. Steffey said. “We want it to be the best it can be.”
Last month, some potential users and Mr. Martin voiced concern about a lack of suitably deep water at low tide at the already-installed launch. Mr. Steffey said then he was looking into the second launch, which is in deeper water.
Monday night, the manager said he hopes the site could be open to the public by the end of June.
“We’re just waiting on our (state) stormwater permit, then we can do the parking lot and turn lane” off Highway 58, he said.
The town purchased the land, about 1.5 acres, from a private owner in May 2019 for $124,000, with a $105,000 grant from the N.C. Division of Coastal Management, plus the town’s $18,100 match. The town also obtained an $83,000 DCM grant for construction of the facility, along with a $22,000 match.
The contract to build a right-turn lane into the park from Highway 58 and to construct the 20-vehicle parking lot went to Able Paving of Jacksonville for a low bid of $45,000.
Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email Brad@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.