The Town continues its efforts to secure the 30-acre tract adjacent to the Town government complex, and remains optimistic that this land acquisition will become a reality in the near future. The State budget includes $1.045 million for the land acquisition, and the Board of Commissioners has authorized up to $500,000 of Town funds for the land acquisition.The Town continues to work closely with officials at MCAS Cherry Point to secure up to $1.5 million of Federal funding for the land acquisition, and we remain optimistic that this funding will ultimately be approved later this year. The Town expects to close on the land purchase in late October.
The Town intends to preserve 20 acres in its natural state (with new nature trails weaving throughout the property), and will develop the remaining 10 acres for active recreational facilities in the future. Specific park plans will be developed in the coming months and years, and may include a baseball field, soccer field, tennis courts, pickleball courts, dog park and/or other park amenities as determined by the community and the Board of Commissioners at that time.
It is important to note that any new park amenities will NOT include ballfield lighting, as this is not consistent with the goals of MCAS Cherry Point. Additionally, in an effort to protect water quality in Archers Creek, any new ballfields will be designed in such a manner that storm water runoff will be diverted away from Archers Creek, and a significant natural buffer will be preserved along Archers Creek. Finally, the Town intends to designate the primary access to the new park from the existing Town government complex (near the Community Center), and does not envision any motor vehicle access to the new park from Sound Drive, Lee Avenue, or Live Oak Street.
The Town views this project as a long-term investment in the environment, the military's preparedness, and the youth of Emerald Isle.The Town has worked diligently over the years to maintain and enhance the beautiful natural environment in and around Emerald Isle, and this project represents yet another beneficial effort. The Town strongly supports our military service personnel, and works to maintain a cooperative and productive relationship with our partners at MCAS Cherry Point and MCALF Bogue to maximize their preparedness and minimize impacts on Emerald Isle. Finally, Emerald Isle, with all of its wonderful amenities, does not currently offer any ballfields for children (and adults) to hit a baseball, kick a soccer ball, toss a football, or participate in other outdoor sports without leaving the island.There are more than 400 school-age children who are permanent residents of Emerald Isle, and thousands more who visit their second home, visit their grandparents, or come for vacation, and the Town looks forward to offering these traditional recreational facilities in the future.The new park will further enhance and promote the Town's family beach image and small-town atmosphere, and result in a more compete community for our residents, property owners, and visitors in the future!