- Eastern Emerald Isle Beach Nourishment Project update
- Other Post-Hurricane Florence Recovery Activities
After three months of service to Emerald Isle, I remain very optimistic about the Town of Emerald Isle and ongoing efforts to continue to provide quality municipal services to the community, its citizens and patrons. The dedicated elected leaders and capable staff are committed to success in service delivery and I am blessed to have the opportunity to lead administrative efforts on their behalf.
With the guidance of a very capable and experienced consultant, the recruitment process is progressing on schedule for the Town Board of Commissioners to select a new Town Manager in the March-April, 2019 timeframe. In the meantime, staff and management are progressing with elected official and early citizen input to prepare a municipal operating budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2019. The process will conclude with a public hearing on the recommended budget and adoption in June, 2019. I do not foresee or anticipate any obstacles that will prevent an efficient budget development process and smooth administrative leadership transition in the months ahead.
The following are updates on specific ongoing major projects and activities Emerald Isle is currently pursuing:
Eastern Emerald Isle Beach Nourishment Project update
Since my last update, all required approvals and permits have been secured to allow the planned $20 million Post-Florence Phase 1 Nourishment Project to proceed as scheduled with completion by April 30, 2019. The state grant, county and town funded project will restore the significantly eroded beaches of the Salter Path community, the Town of Indian Beach and the eastern portion of Emerald Isle with the Town of Emerald Isle portion constituting approximately 65% of the project scope. The contracts have all been finalized and a pre-construction meeting between local officials, the contractor and environmental regulatory agencies was held in late January.
Plans call for the contractor to have two dredges on the project with the smaller of the two dredges to arrive first and begin work in Salter Path while the second larger dredge will focus on the Emerald Isle portion upon arrival. With the two dredges scheduled for work on the project, beach sand restoration activities will move quickly toward completion. Barring any unforeseen complications, contractor Great Lakes is committed to delivering a quality project on time and within budget. I remain confidant the eastern beaches of Emerald Isle will be in excellent condition for the ensuing Spring/Summer 2019 tourist season.
The County Beach Preservation Office has set up a webpage for this project. It has been updated to reflect details on staging activities and scheduling information from all meetings and communications with involved parties. Citizens and others interested are encouraged to monitor the website for updates and relevant information on the project as it progresses. The webpage can be reached via the following link http://www.carteretcountync.gov/788/Florence-Replenishment-Project-2019 and can also be accessed from the Town’s website www.emeraldisle-nc.org .
Other Post-Hurricane Florence Recovery Activities
I am pleased to advise that the Town has continued to address public building and facilities damaged by the hurricane. Most notably, contracts have been authorized to repair Fire Station #2 building damages and for extensive dangerous tree and limb removal activities in the Emerald Isle Woods Park and Mclean-Spell Park. Upon completion, these two Town park facilities will be reopened for public use. All these improvements and other Town efforts have been coordinated with federal and state emergency management officials and full reimbursement of eligible expenditures are expected to be received in the months ahead.
The Town has continued other clean-up activities throughout the community. Citizens and contractors are reminded that ongoing Town crew recovery efforts do not include Town collection of construction and demolition (C&D) debris. Consistent with long standing Town policies, removal of all C&D materials remain the responsibility of the property owner or their agents. We respectfully request that property owners require contractors to remove these materials as soon as possible.
Town officials certainly understand the challenges property owners are facing in timely completion of repairs to damaged buildings and property; therefore, we are exercising what I contend is an appropriate degree of discretion to not further pressure already strained property owner patience through the use of any heavy handed or ill-advised and cumbersome code enforcement processes. With the affected property owners and Town agents working together, it is my hope that this approach will suffice in achieving our goal. We must, however, do our collective best to ensure as we inch closer to the tourist season that our beautiful community’s appearance does not unnecessarily suffer. The Town administration strongly desires to avoid committing limited public resources and valuable time enforcing Town regulations to this end.
Concerning very important efforts to restore damaged beach and sound front water accesses, the Town is pursuing plans to address necessary improvements as a high priority. In the affected area of the Eastern Emerald Isle Beach Nourishment Project which begins at the Indian Beach town limits and will end in the vicinity of the Eastern Ocean Regional Access, repairs to significantly damaged beach access points will obviously be challenged until the beach sand replenishment activities have been essentially completed. However, I am committed to ensuring that the Town takes necessary interim steps to ensure adequate and safe access is maintained throughout the project duration at all public beach accesses within the project area.
As for access improvements outside the upcoming beach project area, the Town is developing an action plan and will be pursuing restoration of all public access facilities with the goal continuing to be completion of most if not all necessary improvements prior to the tourist season. At this time, the only possible exceptions may be major damaged dock accesses on the sound side that will require prior FEMA authorization and reimbursement approval due to the scale and scope of these site specific projects.
In closing, I appreciate all the comments and feedback publication of this information produces. I try to respond in a timely manner to all comments. I appreciate the kind words I receive and your patience. I also occasionally get a request or comment that is worthy of inclusion here. A citizen wisely suggested I include a reminder that we all remain diligent in doing our individual part to keep our community clean and green by first avoiding littering and second by helping to pick up any litter. As a result of the storm and its aftermath, we have some additional work to do along our streets, paths and on private property as well. Please do your part to help make and keep Emerald Isle a litter free special island paradise. This includes being responsible pet owners by cleaning up their waste and keeping our furry friends safe by obeying leash and restraint requirements.
Thank you for your continued support,
Randy Martin, Interim Town Manager