- $2.2 Million Grant Awarded for "The Aquarium Pier at Emerald Isle"!
- Construction to Begin on Phase II of Coast Guard Road Storm Water Project
- Construction to Begin on New Handicapped-Accessible Observation Decks and Ramps
- Additional Right Turn Lane at Crew Drive / Coast Guard Road at NC 58 Intersection
- New Alignment for Old Ferry Road / Sound Drive Intersection
- EMS Brick Fundraising Campaign Underway
- FOR SALE - Existing EMS Station Building
Emerald Tidings, composed monthly by Town Manager Frank Rush, is the official newsletter of the Town of Emerald Isle.
$2.2 Million Grant Awarded for "The Aquarium Pier at Emerald Isle"!
Much-Anticipated Project Is On Its Way! The North Carolina Aquariums and the Town of Emerald Isle have been awarded a $2.2 million grant from the NC Waterfront Access and Marine Industry Fund (WAMI) for design work and initial construction activities for "The Aquarium Pier at Emerald Isle". The NC Division of Marine Fisheries, the agency responsible for overseeing the coast-wide $20 million WAMI Fund, announced the grant award on April 2.
The NC Aquariums and the Town are partnering to construct a new 1,000 ft. long ocean fishing pier and new multi-purpose pier house at the site of the Town's Eastern Ocean Regional Access facility located near mile marker 15 on NC 58. The site is currently used for beach access and parking, and is the former site of the old Emerald Isle Pier that was dismantled as a result of the hurricanes of the 1990s. The new pier will be constructed with concrete and steel to withstand future hurricanes, and will include wooden decking to maintain the traditional NC ocean pier experience. The new pier house will include typical pier amenities, and will also include Aquarium exhibits, educational facilities, university research facilities, and public meeting areas. The $2.2 million grant will fund detailed design work for the new facility, construction of various site improvements (parking, wastewater, storm water), and construction of a new soundfront pier that will complement the new ocean fishing pier. Design work will begin later this summer, with construction of the new facility expected to begin in 2010. The target date for the opening of the new facility is spring 2012. Construction will be funded with a combination of NC Aquarium funding and additional State and local grant funding. The total construction cost is estimated at more than $12 million. "The Aquarium Pier at Emerald Isle" will be the second of three planned State piers in North Carolina that will be managed by the North Carolina Aquariums - one in close proximity to each of the State's three aquarium facilities in Manteo, Pine Knoll Shores, and Fort Fisher. Construction is expected to begin on "The Aquarium Pier at Nags Head" later this year. The Town is pleased to be partnering with the NC Aquariums on this exciting project, and is grateful for grant funding awarded from the WAMI Fund. The "Aquarium Pier at Emerald Isle" will insure the perpetual existence of a public ocean fishing pier in Emerald Isle, thereby preserving the North Carolina ocean fishing pier experience for residents and visitors of Emerald Isle, Carteret County, and all of North Carolina. Ocean fishing piers are an important part of North Carolina's coastal heritage, and are important public access facilities for fishermen, disabled individuals, and the general public. The Town will soon convey the Eastern Ocean Regional Access site to the NC Aquariums, who will be the lead agency in the design and construction of the new facility. Town officials will remain heavily involved in the project, and a special advisory committee consisting of Town and Aquarium appointees will soon be established to assist in the effort. The Town is excited and proud to help make "The Aquarium Pier at Emerald Isle" a reality in the coming years!
Construction to Begin on Phase II of Coast Guard Road Storm Water Project
Emerald Isle Woods Park to Be Temporarily Closed The Town has awarded a construction contract for Phase II of the Coast Guard Road Storm Water Project, and work will begin in April and continue through August. The Town and the contractor, Thomas Simpson Construction (Atlantic Beach, NC) will be working hard to complete the project in an expeditious manner with minimal impacts to nearby neighborhoods. The Phase II project involves the construction of two new storm water pumps in Spinnakers Reach subdivision along Shipwreck Lane. Storm water and ground water will be pumped from these two locations through new pipe installed through Dolphin Ridge and along Coast Guard Road to the established storm water receiving site at Emerald Isle Woods Park. Additional improvements are also planned at Emerald Isle Woods to treat and contain the pumped water, and to prevent any impacts on adjacent properties. The project is expected to greatly reduce the duration and frequency of storm water flooding in Spinnakers Reach, Land's End, and Dolphin Ridge after future heavy rainfall events. The project utilizes the same approach as the Phase I project constructed in 2005 with pump locations in Deer Horn Dunes and Sea Dunes subdivisions. That project has performed very well over the past 3 years, and we anticipate the same effectiveness from the Phase II project. Construction of the project will begin in April and continue through July. The majority of the pipe will be installed using a boring technique in order to minimize surface impacts. The Town does expect open cut excavation at the pump locations in Spinnakers Reach and the entrance to Dolphin Ridge, and extra care will be taken to enable normal vehicular access, minimize noise concerns, and restore the ground conditions to an equal or better condition after the project is complete. Impacts in Dolphin Ridge are expected in April and May, along Coast Guard Road in May and June, and in Spinnakers Reach in June and July. Work will occur in Emerald Isle Woods Park in late April and May, and it will be necessary to close the park to vehicles and pedestrians during that time. Exact dates will be announced as the construction schedule is finalized, and the Town will seek to minimize the times that the park is closed. The $753,603 construction contract was approved by the Board of Commissioners at its March meeting, along with an associated financing agreement. The Town will finance construction of the project through RBC Centura over a 10-year period at an annual interest rate of 3.26%. The Town looks forward to the completion of this beneficial project prior to the 2008 hurricane season.
Construction to Begin on New Handicapped-Accessible Observation Decks and Ramps at Town's Two Regional Beach Access Facilities
The Town has awarded two contracts for the construction of new handicapped-accessible observation decks and access ramps at the Town's Eastern Ocean Regional Access and Western Ocean Regional Access facilities. Work will begin in April, and both facilities should be complete no later than Memorial Day weekend.
Improvements at each regional access include the construction of a 480 sq. ft. handicapped-accessible observation deck overlooking the beach and ocean, and also include a gradual-sloped ramp to the beach to enable wheelchairs to reach the beach strand. The new ramps will be available for use by the general public also, and will help to relieve congestion on the existing walkways.
The total cost of these improvements is approximately $65,000, and 75% of the cost is funded through a grant from the NC Division of Coastal Management.
The Town is committed to improving beach access for all, with special efforts to enhance access opportunities for handicapped individuals. The Town has operated a free program providing specially-designed beach wheelchairs for daily use for many years. Please contact the Emerald Isle Fire Department (252-354-2245) or Emerald Isle Parks and Recreation (252-354-6350) for more information about the beach wheelchair program.
Additional Right Turn Lane at Crew Drive / Coast Guard Road at NC 58 Intersection Intended to Further Improve Traffic Flow at Busy Intersection
In an effort to further improve traffic flow at the Coast Guard Road / NC 58 intersection, the Town will construct a new, dedicated right-turn lane from the north side of Coast Guard Road (near Crew Drive) onto NC 58 in April. This new, dedicated turn lane will enable vehicles leaving Emerald Isle via Crew Drive to make a faster right turn onto NC 58 heading toward the Cameron Langston Bridge. This expedited turning movement should allow for more efficient traffic flow from Crew Drive straight across NC 58 to Coast Guard Road, in turn enabling more efficient left turns from the south side of Coast Guard Road onto NC 58. The Coast Guard Road / NC 58 intersection is the busiest intersection in Emerald Isle, and the Town continues to work to improve traffic flow in this area. Other recent improvements include additional and longer turn lanes on Coast Guard Road in 2007 and new traffic signals installed by NCDOT in 2007.
New Alignment for Old Ferry Road / Sound Drive Intersection Designed to Improve Safety
In an effort to improve vehicle and pedestrian safety, the Town will realign the intersection of Old Ferry Road and Sound Drive in April. The new alignment will eliminate the blind curve that currently exists at this location and will result in the creation of a true "T" intersection with a 4-way stop.
The new alignment will result in Sound Drive being the primary straight-through roadway at this location, although there will be required stops on Sound Drive at the intersection. Vehicles travelling north on Old Ferry Road toward the Island Harbor Marina will travel in a straighter alignment to a new stop at the intersection, and will then be required to make a right turn onto Sound Drive before entering Island Harbor Marina.
The Town recognizes the significant community benefit provided by Island Harbor Marina, and great care has been taken to insure that boat trailers will be able to navigate the new intersection alignment. The Town has completed several "test runs" with vehicles and trailers nearly 60 feet long at this location to insure that the new intersection can be safely and effectively navigated. A very wide asphalt turning radius will be retained on Old Ferry Road to allow for smoother right turns from Old Ferry Road onto Sound Drive.
EMS Brick Fundraising Campaign Underway
Proceeds Benefit Emerald Isle EMS' New Station
Mayor Art Schools has organized a Brick Fundraising Campaign to benefit the new Emerald Isle EMS Station currently being constructed on Emerald Drive adjacent to Fire Station 1. Contributions of any amount are welcome and appreciated; but a contribution of $100 will purchase a brick inscribed with up to three lines with 20 characters per line, and a contribution of $250 will purchase a brick with up to six lines with 20 characters per line. The bricks will be used to build a walkway in front of the EMS station, and the funds generated will be used to purchase equipment and furnishings for the new facility. To learn more about the program and order your brick, please visit Town Hall or www.emeraldisle-nc.org/brick/default.htm .
FOR SALE - Existing EMS Station Building - 218 Cedar Street
The Town is currently partnering with Emerald Isle EMS, Inc. to construct a new EMS station on Town-owned land adjacent to Fire Station 1 on NC 58. The new building is expected to be complete by late summer 2008, at which time Emerald Isle EMS, Inc. will occupy the new building. The Town will take possession of the existing EMS Station at 218 Cedar Street at that time, and is currently offering the property for sale. The existing EMS Station is a converted beach house. The existing station is in very good condition for use as a permanent home or beach house, and may also be suitable for a low-impact, home-based business. The building consists of a 1200 sq. ft., 3 bedroom, 2 bath living area on the top floor, and also includes a large garage and an additional 1200 sq. ft. of heated space on the ground floor consisting of a full kitchen, bath, and two large rooms. The building is located on the ocean side, and a beach access is just a short walk away. The sale price is $450,000, and the Town will consider all offers. For more information, please contact Town Hall at 252-354-3424.
Frank A. Rush, Jr. Town Manager Town of Emerald Isle 7500 Emerald Drive Emerald Isle, NC 28594 252-354-3424 firstname.lastname@example.org