Emerald Tidings

February 2008

  1. Town Awarded Grant for McLean Park Development
  2. Town Now Pursuing 1-Story Design for Town Administration Building
  3. Town Applies for Two Grants Aimed at Maintaining and Improving Water Quality
  4. Town Maintains Sound Financial Position
  5. More 50th Birthday Coffee Table Books Available
  6. FOR SALE - Existing EMS Station Building

Town Awarded Grant for McLean Park Development

Grant Will Fund New Sound Pier, Bathroom Facility, and Picnic Shelter

The Town has been awarded a $108,750 grant from the NC Division of Coastal Management for initial park development at McLean Park, a new soundfront park located adjacent to Chapel By The Sea near mile marker 18 on NC 58. The Town will provide a $36,250 local match for the grant, resulting in total park development funds of $145,000.

Grant funds will be used to construct a new pier into Bogue Sound and the construction of a combined bathroom facility / picnic shelter. The existing parking area for Chapel By The Sea will be available for park patrons during non-worship hours, and a separate agreement with Chapel By The Sea calls for the future construction of a new paved parking area by the Church (in conjunction with the construction of a new Church facility).

The McLean Park site was donated to the non-profit Emerald Isle Parks and Recreation Association, Inc. by the family of the late W.B. McLean in 2004. The Emerald Isle Parks and Recreation Association, Inc. has entered into a separate lease agreement with the Town for the development, operation, and maintenance of McLean Park. The park site consists of approximately 8 acres, with approximately 4 acres of upland area and 4 acres of marsh. The property has approximately 350 ft. of sound frontage and 115 ft. of road frontage on NC 58.

The Town has also applied for an additional Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant for the construction of a multi-purpose ball field and new children's playground at McLean Park. This grant application will be considered later this year.

Park construction is expected to begin in late summer / early fall, and be complete by spring 2009.

Town Now Pursuing 1-Story Design for Town Administration Building

The Town continues to prepare for the construction of a new Town Administration Building. The new building will house the offices of Town administrative staff displaced by the recent expansion of the Police Station into the former administrative office space at Town Hall.

The Town had initially pursued a 2-story design for the new Town Administration building out of necessity due to the limited land area available for construction on the Town Hall campus. (The initial site was located between the existing Police Station and the tennis courts.) With the recent acquisition of a 1.2 acre tract of land across from Town Hall and the decision to locate the new Town Administration Building on this site, the Town now has ample land available to accommodate a 1-story building design. The Town believes that a 1-story building design will result in a more customer-friendly environment, and will hopefully result in a more economical building. The Town recently received several bids for the construction of the 2-story building (prior to the acquisition of the 1.2 acre tract), and all exceeded the Towns' budget for the project. The 1-story design will eliminate the need for an elevator, which will result in significant cost savings for the Town.

The new Town Administration Building will be redesigned over the next few months, and the Town will solicit construction bids in April or May. The new building will be located directly across from the Emerald Isle Community Center, adjacent to Emerald Isle Realty.

Town Applies for Two Grants Aimed at Maintaining and Improving Water Quality

The Town places a high priority on water quality in the Atlantic Ocean, Bogue Sound, and Archer's Creek, and has implemented a comprehensive storm water management program in recent years aimed at protecting water quality. In our continued efforts to address storm water issues, the Town recently applied for two grants from the NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund.

Emerald Isle is fortunate to enjoy generally outstanding water quality in and around Emerald Isle. The lone water quality problem in Emerald Isle exists in Archer's Creek, which runs for a length of more than 2 miles on the soundside of NC 58 in central Emerald Isle. The waters of Archer's Creek are closed to shellfishing, primarily due to the presence of 19 older storm water outfalls that drain to Archer's Creek. (New storm water discharges to the creek are prohibited under current storm water rules.) A total of 14 of these storm water outfalls are owned and controlled by private development, and 3 are owned and controlled by NCDOT. The Town will be seeking to work with private property owners and NCDOT to eventually remove these storm water outfalls and/or install storm water "best management practices" at these locations in the future. The Town will also be working to eliminate its 2 outfalls in the future. Due to the nearly fully developed nature of the Archer's Creek area and the private / NCDOT ownership issues, the potential solutions will likely be complex. Recognizing this challenge, the Town is seeking a $75,000 grant from the NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund (to be matched with $25,000 from the Town) to fund a comprehensive engineering study to identify alternatives and conceptual plans for future improvements at these 19 locations. The proposed study will then become the basis for future Town grant applications and construction projects aimed at removing these storm water outfalls.

The Town is also seeking a $97,000 grant to remove storm water discharges into Bogue Sound in eastern Emerald Isle. This proposed grant would be matched with $36,000 of in-kind services provided by Town staff. There are a total of 17 locations in eastern Emerald Isle between 1st Street and Asheville Street that have NCDOT storm water outfalls draining to Bogue Sound and/or have direct sheet flow of storm water runoff from Town streets into Bogue Sound. The removal of these storm water discharges is much less complex than Archer's Creek due to the presence of sufficient public right-of-ways and the relatively small drainage areas at each location, and can be accomplished relatively easily and inexpensively. The Town has previously completed similar improvements at 7 locations in eastern Emerald Isle, and the requested grant funds would enable the Town to address all remaining storm water discharge locations in eastern Emerald Isle. Typical improvements at each location include the removal of storm water discharges, the construction of above-ground and/or underground infiltration areas, erosion control measures, installation of bulkheads, and other public access improvements. The existing water quality in Bogue Sound in this area remains very good, and the Town's goal is to maintain water quality in this area in the future by gradually eliminating the existing storm water discharges.

The Town is optimistic about both grant applications, and looks forward to the NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund's decisions later this summer and fall. If approved, work will begin on both grant projects in late 2008 or early 2009.

Town Maintains Sound Financial Position

The Town of Emerald Isle maintains a sound financial position, as evidenced by two recent actions.

First, the Town's independent financial auditors completed the June 30, 2007 financial audit and issued a favorable report on the Town's finances. The Town has implemented and adheres to sound financial policies and practices, and ended FY 06-07 with an overall sound financial position. The Town's total General Fund balance at June 30 was $1.87 million, or approximately 27.3% of total General Fund expenditures during FY 06-07. The Town also maintains a total Beach Nourishment Debt Service / Reserve Fund balance of $2.6 million, with the majority of these funds earmarked for future debt service payments on the Town's beach nourishment bonds. The Town boasts an outstanding 99.8% annual property tax collection rate.

Second, Wall Street bond rating firm Standard & Poor's recently reaffirmed the Town's A+ bond rating, which is considered excellent for a Town of Emerald Isle's size and geography. Standard & Poor's cited the relatively strong tourism industry, the significant taxable value of property in Emerald Isle, the Town's sound financial management, and stable leadership as keys to the strong bond rating.

The Mayor, Commissioners, Town Manager, and Town staff continually strive to manage the Town's financial affairs in the most prudent manner.

More 50th Birthday Coffee Table Books Available

Vista Graphics, the publisher of "Celebrating 50 Years of Emerald Isle, 1957 - 2007", the Town's 50th Birthday commemorative coffee table book, has made additional copies of the book available for sale.

The book includes a pictorial history of Emerald Isle, highlighting local landmarks from the past and present, indigenous recipes, community tales, and a pinch of political history.

To place an order, please call or email Jeff Walston, Account Executive with VistaGraphics, Inc. at 252-393-6906 / toll free at 800.422.0742 or email: jwalston@vgnet.com. Town Hall also has a small supply of books being offered for sale by Vista Graphics for $20 each.

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, beach house, or a commercial use. 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 building could also potentially be converted to commercial use, located near the corner of NC 58 and Cedar Street.

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
Posted by Frank Rush Friday, February 1, 2008 9:44:00 AM