“We’re trying to think through this and make sure we minimize the interruptions [to your businesses],” DuBois said.
The scheduled upgrades include repairing or replacing water and sewer lines, placing underground conduits for electricity and communications and installing new lighting. The construction area extends from Harper Avenue south to Charlotte Avenue and from Lake Park Boulevard east almost to the wooden walkways lining the beach itself.
“We want to make this thing as transparent as possible,” said DuBois. “It’s something that needs to be done. It’s way overdue.”
Some residents were concerned about the timeline. According to DuBois, the town is hoping to start the work by the end of September, with a projected end date of early spring. He said they’re also allowing 15 – 20 days of buffer time in case some unforeseen delays occur, and that they want to take the time to do everything right the first time.
“Once we do it, we won’t have to come back here for another fifty, sixty, seventy years,” DuBois said. “If we do this section here, we move on to the next section. We don’t have to keep band-aiding here.”
Duke Energy Senior Engineer Sid Livingston, who is one of the project leads, said work will start from the bottom up.
“We’ll be installing the underground lines first,” Livingston said. “It’ll probably be December before we start removing the overhead [power] lines.”
The estimated cost of all the improvements is a little under $753,000, which will be completely covered by the town.
“It’s a conscious decision on behalf of council and staff to absorb all costs,” said Mayor Dan Wilcox. “We consider this a town project.”
“We don’t see this as something that we would require you to pay for,” Town Manager Michael Cramer added.
Though the town is doing its best to minimize the impact the construction will have on the businesses by communicating openly with them, inconveniences will be inevitable. Owners and tenants are preparing for it and looking forward to the end results.
“We’ve been through it before,” said Dava Villapiano, owner of Silver Dollar, a bar on the boardwalk. “We survived, we’ll survive again.”
Villapiano said while traffic in and out of her establishment could be affected, she believes all the work is a positive thing and the town is going about it in the right way.
DuBois, who will be the point of contact for all businesses throughout this process, said the feedback he’s gotten has been “very positive.”
“Anything they need to talk about, I’m here for them,” DuBois said.
Villapiano, for one, appreciates that.
“I feel like they have done their very best in a difficult circumstance and keep the businesses’ interests in mind,” she said. “I’m very pleased.”
Eric Jelinski, the director of the parks and recreation department, said this project has been on his radar since he took the post over two years ago.
“The floor was one thing that I saw that needed attention,” he said. “The gym floor is currently over 20 years old. We knew it was time to replace it.”
The 8,750-square-foot gym is currently covered in synthetic tiles that were laid directly on concrete, making it hard on the people using it.
“There is zero shock absorbance in that floor,” said Jelinski, who said the current floor was originally made for outdoors, then put indoors. “It’s a safety thing.”
Since getting approved for $75,000 in funding in July (which includes money for the floor, maintenance equipment and other repairs), Jelinski and other members of the parks and recreation department have been looking at different surface options and visiting gyms in the area to see and feel what they would be like.
Due to the unique environmental circumstances of living in a beach community, Carolina Beach has decided to go with a synthetic floor. They have chosen the Maple Select Response High Gloss product made by the company Sport Court, which Jelinski said seemed to be the best choice after talking with parks and recreation professionals around the state.
The center’s gym is not just used for basketball games. Zumba classes are held in there, as well as youth karate tournaments and other events. During their search for the right material, Jelinski and his colleagues kept this in mind.
“One thing we asked was, ‘Can we customize the floor for all the different programs we offer?’” Jelinski said. “It had to meet all these requirements for a true multi-purpose floor.”
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“The carnival ride operator got double-booked for Labor Day weekend,” said Town Manager Michael Cramer.
According to Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce Director Greg Reynolds, the majority of summer contracts, like the one with the carnival operator, run from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend. In most years, that is a 15-week stretch of time. This year, that period happened to span 16 weeks, which caused a scheduling overlap.
“He had a contract to be in Florida by Saturday, so he up and left,” Reynolds said.
Cramer said the town did not know the rides and games, which were operating on private property that will remain empty in the off-season unless needed for extra parking or special events, were leaving this week.
“We were unaware until we saw them starting to take them down on Sunday,” Cramer said.
Reynolds said that the impact of the carnival rides and games vacating the area before the last holiday weekend of the summer would not be as bad as if it happened earlier in the season.
“It hurts our businesses a little,” said Reynolds. “But Labor Day is typically slower. I don’t think we’ll be as busy as the 4th of July or Memorial Day, but we’ll be busier than normal weekends.”
He said visitors and residents will still have plenty to do in the boardwalk area over the long weekend, including an extended fireworks show on Friday night and live entertainment.
“We’ve had a few negative comments, but we still have a free concert, fireworks and movie this weekend,” Reynolds said. “There may be some disappointed kids that wanted to ride the rides, but we’ve still got lots of other things.”
The hearing will take place at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 1 at Shelby Jean’s Restaurant at the Boardwalk. According to a news release from Gilbert DuBois, the town’s director of operations, the purpose of the meeting is to inform business and property owners, tenants and residents of Carolina Beach of the upgrades that will be made to one of the town’s main gathering areas and to get their input.
“We want to work with each business and do so without any significant disruption of anyone’s business or livelihood,” Dubois said. “The work is being scheduled so it can be completed in sections that will prevent major blockages and interruptions of any business or access to business. We want to discuss any requests or alternatives.”
Some of the projects scheduled include removing and replacing concrete walkways, replacing or repairing water and sewer mains, placing conduits and cables underground for power and communications and installing new lighting in the area.
All Carolina Beach residents, business owners, property owners and tenants are invited to attend.
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Carolina Beach, NC is located 14 miles SE of Wilmington, North Carolina (center to center). The town is part of New Hanover County. The population of Carolina Beach is 5,883. The beach is quiet and peaceful and not crowded... yet! During your stay in Carolina Beach, you can visit the Carolina Beach State Park and stay in one of the many vacation rentals or hotels on the Island. You can also enjoy fishing and boating in the Ocean or at the North End. If you are searching for nightlife - you won't be disappointed! Just to name a few, The Fat Pelican, High Tide Lounge, and The Lazy Pirate are sure to keep you entertained! The town also has several houses of worship including the First Baptist Church of CB, CB Presbyterian Church. Seaside Chapel, and St. Paul's United Methodist Church. From fresh seafood to a burger at the Ocean Grille and Tiki Bar, you are sure to enjoy your time at Carolina Beach!
Kure Beach, North Carolina
Kure Beach, NC is located only 3 miles south of Carolina Beach, North Carolina (center to center), basically merging together. The town is part of New Hanover County. The population of Kure Beach is 2,063. Kure Beach is sometimes referred to as a "sleepy beach town" that is growing in popularity and price! While there is a permanent population of approximately 1,500 residents, the town still functions like any normal town with municipal services and fire protection. The town features a few restaurants, but no commercial entertainment... it's the perfect place to get-away ... or stay if you love the slow pace of life! Kure Beach doesn't have the option to expand as it is completely surrounded with the Fort Fisher State Recreation Area and Historic Site, US Government owns the west side, Carolina Beach borders the north, and of course the beautiful Atlantic Ocean forms the east border.