April 11, 2008

Two Dare projects get waterfront access funding

Louis Daniel, director of the state Division of Marine Fisheries, announced April 2 the 13 projects selected for funding from the Waterfront Access and Marine Industry Fund.

Approved by the General Assembly in 2007, the Waterfront Access and Marine Industry Fund (WAMI) provided $20 million for the purchase of coastal waterfront properties and the development of public and commercial waterfront access facilities.  

State Senate Pro-tem Marc Basnight of Manteo was instrumental in gaining legislative support for the program.

After a lengthy review process that involved three separate advisory committees, Daniel selected two projects in Dare County for funding.

Three million from the fund will go towards the purchase of the marina and 12 acres of land at Manns Harbor owned by Outdoor Properties III.  When the project is complete, the site will provide commercial fishing and recreational access to the Croatan Sound, with boat ramps, docks, picnic areas, parking, and restrooms.

Like most of the other projects, the Manns Harbor project did not receive the total amount requested.  The proposal requested $4.7 million, estimating the total cost of the project at $5.7 million.

The North Carolina Aquariums Division received $1.5 million of the $2 million requested for help with the replacement of the old Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head with a concrete fishing pier. The project will cost almost $17 million.

Daniel said other state agencies, such as Wildlife Resources Commission, Coastal Management Commission, and Clean Water Management Trust Fund, have agreed to help fund some of the projects. Other projects still need to identify additional funding sources.

“We had $20 million to work with and the total cost of the projects is about $71 million,” he said.

Daniel said he was pleased that he was able to distribute money from the WAMI fund equally among the three coastal regions.

Six projects in the northeast region were funded at a total of $6.8 million.  Four central coastal projects received $6.2 million and three southeast projects received $6.9 million.

In Tyrrell County, a jetty, bulkhead and boat slips will be built at the foot of the Alligator River Bridge on property owned by the state Department of Transportation.

Two projects in Swan Quarter – the purchase of two acres of land next to property owned by the Wildlife Resources Commission and the purchase of Cahoon Seafood – received partial funding.

One million dollars will go towards the purchase of land in Engelhard in Hyde County for expansion of the Wanchese Seafood Industrial Park by the state Department of Commerce.

Funded projects in the central region include assistance with planning and site preparation for an Aquarium Divisions pier at Emerald Isle, building a boat ramp at Goose Creek State Park, improving public fishing and boating facilities on Radio Island, and purchasing 28 acres on Cedar Island.

In the southern region, the WAMI fund will assist with the purchase of land in Hampstead, land in Brunswick County, and Millis Seafood in Sneads Ferry.

Daniel said the purchase of enterprises like Millis Seafood and Cahoon Seafood doesn’t mean that the state will lease out fish houses or docking space.  Those areas will simply provide landing places for fishermen.

“We’re very cognizant of the concern over the state competing with private enterprises,” he explained.

Daniel also noted that WAMI funds could not be used to improve privately owned infrastructure, such as boat slips at fish houses or marinas.

 Comments are always welcomed!

     Subject :

     Name :  (required)

     Email :  (required, will not be published)

     City :   (required)    State :   (required)

     Your Comments:

May be posted on the Letters to the Editor page at the discretion of the editor.